Although few would dispute the usefulness of looking at behavioral change from a stage-sequential perspective, until recently the lack of appropriate modeling techniques has hampered rigorous empirical tests of stage theories. In particular, for behavioral measurements that are ordinal, there is a need for methods that represent the underlying change processes in the form of qualitative and discontinuous shifts. This article introduces a stage-sequential ordinal model by postulating that at any point in time there are a finite number of latent stages. Panel members may shift among these stages over time. The authors show that the stage-sequential model provides a general approach for both the analysis of ordinal time-dependent data and tests of various competing theories and hypotheses about psychological change processes. An analysis of a 5-year study concerning attitudes toward alcohol consumption by teenagers is presented to illustrate the modeling approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (miscellaneous)