Objectives: This study investigated the application of the transtheoretical (stages-of-change) model in audiologic rehabilitation. More specifically, it described the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA) scores of adults with acquired hearing impairment. It reported the psychometric properties (construct, concurrent, and predictive validity) of the stages-of-change model in this population.
Design: At baseline, 153 adults with acquired hearing impairment seeking help for the first time completed the URICA as well as measures of degree of hearing impairment, self-reported hearing disability, and years since hearing impairment onset. Participants were subsequently offered intervention options: hearing aids, communication programs, and no intervention. Their intervention uptake and adherence were assessed 6 months later and their intervention outcomes were assessed 3 months after intervention completion. First, the stages-of-change construct validity was evaluated by investigating the URICA factor structure (principal component analysis), internal consistency, and correlations between stage scores. The URICA scores were reported in terms of the scores for each stage of change, composite scores, stages with highest scores, and stage clusters (cluster analysis). Second, the concurrent validity was assessed by examining associations between stages of change and degree of hearing impairment, self-reported hearing disability, and years since hearing impairment onset. Third, the predictive validity was evaluated by investigating associations between stages of change and intervention uptake, adherence, and outcomes.
Results: First, in terms of construct validity, the principal component analysis identified four instead of three stages (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action) for which the internal consistency was good. Most of the sample was in the action stage. Correlations between stage scores supported the model. Cluster analysis identified four stages-of-change clusters, which the authors named active change, initiation, disengagement, and ambivalence. In terms of concurrent validity, participants who reported a more advanced stage of change had a more severe hearing impairment, reported greater hearing disability, and had a hearing impairment for a longer period of time. In terms of predictive validity, participants who reported a more advanced stage of change were more likely to take up an intervention and to report successful intervention outcomes. However, stages of change did not predict intervention adherence.
Conclusions: The majority of the sample was in the action stage. The construct, concurrent, and predictive validity of the stages-of-change model were good. The stages-of-change model has some validity in the rehabilitation of adults with hearing impairment. The data support that change might be better represented on a continuum rather than by movement from one step to the next. Of all the measures, the precontemplation stage score had the best concurrent and predictive validity. Therefore, further research should focus on addressing the precontemplation stage with a measure suitable for clinical use.