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Discontinuity patterns in stages of the precaution adoption process model: Meat consumption during a livestock epidemic


Correspondence should be addressed to Aleksandra Luszczynska, University of Sussex, Dept of Psychology, Falmer BN1 9QH, UK (email: or Falko F. Sniehotta, School of Psychology, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, William Guild Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 2UB, Scotland, UK (email:


Objectives. Patterns of changes in social-cognitive variables were investigated in order to test selected stages of the precaution adoption process model (PAPM). It was hypothesized that non-linear trends (discontinuity patterns) in perceived vulnerability, positive and negative outcome expectancies, procrastination, and self-efficacy might be observed across the stages.

Design. Cross-sectional data from 808 respondents were employed.

Method. Questionnaire data were collected in an on-line study on meat consumption during a livestock epidemic in Germany. Polynomial trends and analyses of variance with post-hoc -contrasts were used to examine the patterns of change.

Results. Discontinuity patterns were found for perceived vulnerability, negative outcome expectancies, and procrastination. The data provided partial support for discontinuity patterns in self-efficacy. Continuity patterns were found for positive outcome expectancies.

Conclusions. Results provide support for a stage model rather than a pseudo-stage model.