Change Readiness: A Construct to Explain Health and Life Transitions

By Walker, Charles A. | Journal of Theory Construction and Testing, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Change Readiness: A Construct to Explain Health and Life Transitions


Walker, Charles A., Journal of Theory Construction and Testing


Abstract: Change is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Both nurses and their clients must learn to cultivate change readiness. This article presents two related, but distinct views of change readiness. Readiness to change (a motivational construct) describes how people initiate and maintain self-change needed to promote health or reduce risk. Readiness for change (a developmental construct) denotes how people manage, endure, or cope with life and health transitions over which they have little or no control. 1 heoreticalpropositions are offered concerning the latter kind of change readiness. Aging among baby boomers is examined as a prototype of readiness for change.

Key Words: Aging, Baby boomers, Change theory, Human development, Motivation

Nurses are familiar with change. The health care delivery systems in which they work are in constant flux, and people who nurses encounter as patients commonly face challenging health and life transitions (Chin Chou, Chan, & Tang, 2004; Hall, 2003; Lee & Bakk, 2001; Teichler, 2001, Walker, 2002; Wiseman, 2003). Even so, Chinn (1992) concedes that nurses "think of change as something 'out there' noticeable only when they see dramatic changes in edifice, structure, or effect (p. 102). Chinn goes on to say that genuine and significant changes only begin with the willingness to boldly experiment with and cultivate change readiness.

Although change readiness has keen treated heretofore as a unitary concept, this article presents change readiness as two related, but distinguishable constructs. Both the motivational construct: readiness to change (Prochaska, 1991) and a developmental construct: readiness for change (Walker, 2000) will be considered. Aging among baby boomers will be presented as a prototype for the second kind of change readiness. Before turning to discussions of these two aspects of change readiness, however, "readiness" as a concept will be described.

READINESS AS A CONCEPT

When theorizing about change, nurses often focus on achieving stability or equilibrium in unwelcomed or tragic circumstances (Hall, 1983). Change is less frequently appreciated for its capacity to empower people. Change readiness is an idea with precedent in the literature of cognitive science, educational psychology, human development, and commercial marketing. As a developmental and motivational concept, "readiness" has origins dating back to the 1930s.

Origins of Readiness

During the 1930s, psychologists and educators became convinced that children can learn only after attaining a specified level of "readiness," which generally meant the physical maturity and neurological development sufficient to negotiate an unfamiliar situation or learn a new task (Gesell, 1928; Dennis, 1972, 1973). A child s behavior would unfold m a particular way and at a particular time no matter what parents did. Parents were advised to assume the role of interested spectators. From the mid-1950s onward, however, this view was widely rejected. Parents were urged to do everything possible to accelerate children's physical and intellectual development (Doman, 1964). If parents stimulated their children to master physical and mental skills early in life, the children would he more capable and competent later in life.

Research About Readiness

During the 1960s, developmental psychologists and educators developed research-based practices consistent with the readiness concept. Heller (1972), one of the leading proponents of early educational intervention for disadvantagcd children and chief researcher in the Head Start program, identified the leverage that a) human motivation, b) interpersonal relationships and c) cognitive style have on readiness. Beller (1972) argued that apprehension, a common reaction to new and strange situations, produces an inhibiting effect upon readiness.

According to Beller (1972), readiness is more than physical maturity. Instead readiness is a combination of emotional and cognitive forces that mediate learning environments and result in the mastery of new operations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Change Readiness: A Construct to Explain Health and Life Transitions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.