Skip to main content

Readiness for Change: Case Studies of Young People with Challenging and Risky Behaviours

  • Annemaree Carroll (a1), Adrian Ashman (a1), Julie Bower (a1) and Francene Hemingway (a1)

Readiness for change (or treatment readiness) is a core concept of many rehabilitation programs for adult and juvenile offenders. The present study examined the experiences of six young people aged 13 to 17 years who participated in Mindfields®, a 6-week self-regulatory intervention aimed at enhancing life skills and goal setting among youths who present with challenging and/or risky behaviour. This article investigates the extent to which: readiness for change influences individual responses to the Mindfields® program; external factors influence the achievement and maintenance of program success; and goal achievement leads to perceptions of self-efficacy and personal control over one's behaviour. Prior to, and on completion of the intervention, participants completed the Mindfields® Assessment Battery that measures goal commitment, social competence, self-regulation, life satisfaction, delinquent involvement, and readiness for change. Findings show the importance of participants’ motivation to make life-changing decisions, but this motivation and promising goals can be compromised by factors external to the individual. Our findings prompt future research into ways in which young people can maintain their motivation and readiness for change, and draw encouragement from less successful outcomes than might have been expected.

Corresponding author
address for correspondence: Associate Professor Annemaree Carroll, The University of Queensland, School of Education, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia. Email:
Hide All
Bandura A. (1986). Self-regulatory mechanisms. In Bandura A. (Ed.), Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Bandura A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 248287.
Bandura A. (1997). Self-efficacy. New York: Freeman.
Begun A.L., Shelley G., Strodthoff T., & Short L. (2001). Adopting a stages of change approach for individuals how are violent with their intimate partners. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 5, 105127.
Brown V.B., Melchior L.A., Panter A.T., Slaughter R., & Huba G.J. (2000). Women's steps of change and entry into drug abuse treatment: A multidimensional stages of change model. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 18, 231240.
Burrowes N., & Needs A. (2009). Time to contemplate change? A framework for assessing readiness to change with offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14, 3949.
Carey K.B., Neal D.J., & Collins S.E. (2004). A psychometric analysis of the self-regulation questionnaire. Addictive Behaviors, 29, 253260.
Carroll A., Ashman A., Bower J., & Hemingway F. (2005). Changing my life scale. Unpublished scale. Brisbane, Australia: The University of Queensland.
Carroll A., Durkin K., Hattie J., & Houghton S. (1997). Goal setting among adolescents: A comparison of delinquent, at-risk, and not-at-risk youth. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (3), 441450.
Carroll A., Durkin K., Houghton S., & Hattie J. (1996). An adaptation of Mak's Self-reported Delinquency Scale for Western Australian adolescents. Australian Journal of Psychology, 48 (1), 17.
Carroll A., Hemingway F., Ashman A., & Bower J. (2011). Establishing the psychometric properties of an interactive, self-regulation assessment battery for young offenders. Submitted to Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling.
Carroll A., Houghton S., Durkin K., & Hattie J. (2009). Adolescent reputations and risk: Developmental trajectories to delinquency. New York: Springer.
Chambers J.C., Eccleston L., Day A., Ward T., & Howells K. (2008). Treatment readiness in violent offenders: The influence of cognitive factors on engagement in violence programs. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 13, 276284.
Cloward R.A., & Ohlin L.E. (1960). Delinquency and Opportunity: A theory of delinquent gangs. New York: The Free Press.
Czuchry M., Sia T.L., & Dansereau D.F. (2006). Improving early engagement and treatment readiness of probationers: Gender differences. The Prison Journal, 86, 5674.
Day A., Howells K., Casey S., Ward T., Chambers J.C., & Birgden A. (2009). Assessing treatment readiness in violent offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24, 618635.
Donohue B., Teichner G., Azrin N., Weintraub N., Crum T.A., Murphy L., & Clayton Silver N. (2003). Initial reliability and validity of the life satisfaction scale for problem youth in a sample of drug abusing and conduct disordered youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 12, 453464.
Gideon L. (2010). Drug offenders’ perception of motivation: The role of motivation in rehabilitation and reintegration. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 54, 597610.
Gottfredson M.R., & Hirschi T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Hayes H., & Daly K. (2004). Conferencing and re-offending in Queensland. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 37, 167191.
Joe G.W., Simpson D.D., & Broome K.M. (1998). Effects of readiness for drug abuse treatment on client retention and assessment of process. Addiction, 93, 1177–1190.
Kuperminc G.P., Allen J.P., & Arthur M.W. (1996). Autonomy, relatedness, and male adolescent delinquency: Toward a multidimensional view of social competence. Journal of Adolescent Research, 11, 397420.
Leadbeater B.J., Hellner I., Allen J.P., & Aber J.L. (1989). Assessment of interpersonal negotiation strategies in youth engaged in problem behaviors. Developmental Psychology, 25, 465472.
Lopez V.A. & Emmer E.T. (2002). Influences of beliefs and values on male adolescents’ decision to commit violent offenses. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 3, 2840.
Marcus B.H., Selby V.C., Niaura R.S., & Rossi J.S. (1992). Self-efficacy and the stages of exercise behaviour change. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 63, 6066.
McConnaughy E.A., DiClemente C.C., Prochaska J.O., & Velicer W.F. (1989). Stages of change in psychotherapy: A follow-up report. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 26, 494503.
Moffitt T.E. (1993). Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100, 674701.
Neal D.J., & Carey K.B. (2005). A follow-up psychometric analysis of the self-regulation questionnaire. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19, 414422.
Petrocelli J.V. (2002). Processes and stages of change: Counseling with the transtheoretical model of change. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80, 2230.
Prochaska J.O. (2000). Change at differing times. In Snyder C.R. & Ingram R.E. (Eds.), Handbook of psychological change: Psychotherapy processes and practices for the 21st century (pp. 109127). New York: Wiley.
Prochaska J.O., & DiClemente C.C. (1982). Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 19 (3), 276288.
Prochaska J.O., DiClemente C.C., & Norcross J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47, 11021114.
Prochaska J.O., Norcross J.C., Fowler J.L., Follick M.J., & Abrams D.B. (1992). Attendance and outcome in a work site weight control program: Processes and stages of change as process and predictor variables. Addictive Behaviors, 17, 3545.
Rieger E., Touyz S., & Beumont P. (2002). The Anorexia Nervosa stags of change questionnaire (ANSOCQ): Information regarding its psychometric properties. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 32, 2438.
Slesnick N., Bartle-Haring S., Erdem G., Budde H., Letcher A., Bantchevska D., & Patton R. (2009). Troubled parents, motivated adolescents: Predicting motivation to change substance use among runaways. Addictive Behaviors, 34, 675684.
Sukhodolsky D.G., Kassinove H., Gorman B.S. (2004). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anger in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9, 247269.
Tanielian T., Jaycox L.H., Paddock S.M., Chandra A., Meredith L.S., & Burnam M.A. (2009). Improving treatment seeking among adolescents with depression: Understanding readiness for treatment. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 490498.
Williamson P., Day A., Howells K., Bubner S., & Jauncey S. (2003). Assessing offender readiness to change problems with anger. Psychology, Crime and Law, 9, 295307.
Zimmerman B.J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In Boekaerts M., Pintrich P.R., & Zeidner M. (Eds.), The Handbook of Self-Regulation (pp. 1339). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools
  • ISSN: 2055-6365
  • EISSN: 2055-6373
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-psychologists-and-counsellors-in-schools
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 157 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.