Research Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 5, P240-250, September 2000

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Diet Change Processes of Participants in an Intensive Heart Program

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      The objective of this investigation was to understand the diet change processes of participants within a program setting. A theory-oriented approach and semistructured qualitative interviews were performed over a 4-month data collection period. Nineteen men and four women at one site of an intensive heart program were purposely sampled. Participants were selected to represent several time points in program participation. The Constant Comparative Method was used for analyzing the qualitative data. The investigation produced a framework for the diet change process that included three phases: an immersion phase, a transition phase, and a resolution phase. Within each phase, participants clustered into groups based on diet adherence. Each group shared a set of specific characteristics that were associated with their dietary behavior. Trajectories of diet change occurred within the context of the program experience with participants moving from (1) Complete Acceptors to Believers to Adoptors, (2) Deprived Dieters to Contemplators to Accommodators, and (3) Deprived Dieters to Strugglers to Dropouts. The conceptual model suggested by the study may be valuable to other researchers and practitioners interested in understanding or promoting diet change.
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