This article proposes a new approach to health behavior change, the disconnected values (intervention) model (DVM). The DVM consists of predetermined cognitive-behavioral strategies for initiating and maintaining changes in health behavior, such as the implementation of an exercise program. The model consists of helping clients (a) examine the benefits, in contrast to the costs and long-term consequences, of the habit they most want to change; (b) identify their deepest values and beliefs (e.g., health, family, faith, integrity); (c) detect a “disconnect” between the negative habit and the identified values; and (d) conclude whether the disconnect is acceptable, given its costs and long-term consequences. The client’s conclusion that the disconnect is unacceptable creates incentive and commitment for health behavior change. The theoretical foundations of the DVM are explained, and its specific application for exercise behavior change is described. Three outcome studies also are reported, as well as a brief case study. Implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research are provided.
Mark Anshel is with the Department of Health and Human Performance and the Department of Psychology at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.