Does Precontemplation Represent a Homogeneous Stage Category? A Latent Class Analysis on German Smokers

Gudrun Schorr*, Sabina Ulbricht, Carsten O. Schmidt, Sebastian E. Baumeister, Jeannette Rüge, Anja Schumann, Hans Jürgen Rumpf, Ulrich John, Christian Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work
10 Citations (Scopus)


The authors examined the subtype structure of smokers classified in the precontemplation stage of change within the transtheoretical model. From a general practice-based sample of 1,499 daily smoking patients from Germany (participation rate 80%), they used a subgroup of 929 smokers who were classified in the precontemplation stage and applied latent class analysis, using the pros and cons of nonsmoking and smoking cessation self-efficacy as the defining variables. Cross-sectional validation of the emerging classes was based on smoking behavior and processes of change variables. For longitudinal validation, generalized estimation equation analyses were used on motivational and abstinence criteria from 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-month follow-ups. A 4-class model best represented the data. Three subtypes (labeled progressive, immotive, and disengaged pessimistic) were similar to clusters identified in U.S. studies. The 4th (disengaged optimistic), by contrast, was reminiscent of a type that had previously only emerged in a Dutch study. Cross-sectional and longitudinal validation results confirmed the distinctiveness and predictive power of the classes. The findings highlight the importance of tailoring interventions for smoking behavior change to the needs of different subgroups of precontemplating smokers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)840-851
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 10.2008

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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