James Prochaska

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Department of Psychology; Clinical Psychology
  • Email: jop@uri.edu


PLEASE NOTE: Dr. Prochaska is no longer accepting graduate students for mentorship.

James O. Prochaska was Director of Cancer Prevention Research Center and Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. He is the author of over 400 publications, including four books, Changing to Thrive, Changing for Good, Systems of Psychotherapy, and The Transtheoretical Approach.

He is internationally recognized for his work as a developer of the stage model of behavior change. He is the principal investigator on over $80 million dollars in research grants for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. He is the founder of Pro-Change Behavior Systems.

Dr. Prochaska has won numerous awards including the Top Five Most Cited Authors in Psychology from the American Psychology Society, an Innovator’s Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is the first psychologist to win a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society. Dr. Prochaska has recently been recognized as one of the top three most preeminent clinical psychologists.


Development of a transtheoretical model of behavior change that integrates stages, processes and levels of change. Applications of this model to understanding how people change health related behaviors such as smoking, diet, exercise, and safe sex practices and mental health related behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, stress and distress. Development of interventions based on this model to accelerate changes in problem behaviors. Development of an integrative model of psychotherapy for eclectic therapists. Currently directs several funded projects through the Cancer Prevention Research Center.


Ph.D. 1969, Wayne State University
M.A. 1967, Wayne State University
B.A. 1964, Wayne State University

Selected Publications

Prochaska, J.O. &Prochaska, J.M. (2016). Changing to thrive: overcome the top risks to lasting health and happiness. Hazelden Publishing, Center City, MN.

Prochaska, J.O. & Norcross, J. (2014). Systems of psychotherapy: A transtheoretical analysis (8th edition). Cenage Learning, Stanford CT. Belmont, CA: Brooks Cole.

Prochaska, J.O., Norcross, J.C. & DiClemente, C.C. (1994). Changing for Good. New York: Morrow. Released in paperback by Avon, 1995. (printed in Hungarian 2009, printed in Polish 2008, printed in Hebrew 2006, printed in Japanese 2005)

Prochaska, J.O. and DiClemente, C.C. (1984). The transtheoretical approach: Crossing the traditional boundaries of therapy. Melbourne, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company.

Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to the addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114. (This article presented the transformations in the science and practice of behavior change that were made possible by the Transtheoretical Model. It was the most cited article out of nearly 10,000 on Tobacco Control Research).

Prochaska, J.O. & DiClemente, C.C. (1983). Stages and processes of self change of smoking: Toward an integrative model of change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 390 395. (This study was the first to show the systematic relationships between the stages of change and processes of change from leading theories of counseling and behavior change. It was the second most cited article on Tobacco Control Research).

Prochaska, J.O., Velicer, W.F., Rossi, J.S., Goldstein, M.G., Marcus, B.H., Rakowski, W., Fiore, C., Harlow, L., Redding, C.A., Rosenbloom, D., Rossi, S.R. (1994). Stages of change and decisional balance for 12 problem behaviors. Health Psychology, 13, 39-46. (14th Most cited article on Tobacco Control Research demonstrating comparable pattern of decision making across stages of change for 12 health behaviors).

Prochaska, J.O. (1994). Strong and weak principles for progressing from Precontemplation to Action based on twelve problem behaviors. Health Psychology, 13, 47-51. (Predicted magnitude of difference for the pros of changing [1.0 Standard Deviation] and cons [.5 Standard Deviation] recently replicated with 48 health behaviors).

Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., Velicer, W.F., & Rossi, J.S. (1993). Standardized, individualized, interactive and personalized self-help programs for smoking cessation. Health Psychology, 12, 399-405. (First NIH funded trial demonstrating efficacy of computer tailored interventions, including outperforming counselors).

Prochaska, J.O., Velicer, W.F., Fava, J.L., Rossi, J.S., & Tsoh, J.Y. (2001). Evaluating a population-based recruitment approach and a stage-based expert system intervention for smoking cessation. Addictive Behaviors, 26, 583-602. (First population trial demonstrating effectiveness of computer tailored interventions with 80% of smokers being unmotivated).

Prochaska, J.O., Velicer, W.F., Rossi, J.S., Redding, C.A., Greene, G.W., Rossi, S.R., & Sun, X., Fava, J.L., Laforge, R.G., & Plummer, B. (2004). Multiple risk expert systems interventions: impact of simultaneous stage-matched expert system interventions for smoking, high-fat diet, and sun exposure in a population of parents. Health Psychology, 2, 503-516. (First population trial demonstrating effectiveness of computer-tailored interventions on all three treated behaviors with two-thirds of the population not motivated to change any behavior).

Prochaska, J.O., Velicer, W.F, Redding, C.A., Rossi, J.S., Goldstein, M., DePue, J., Greene, G.W., Rossi, S.R., & Sun, X. (2005). Stage-based Expert Systems to Guide A Population of Primary Care Patients to Quit Smoking, Eat Healthier, Prevent Skin Cancer and Receive Regular Mammograms. Preventive Medicine, 41, 406-416. (First population trial demonstrating effectiveness of Computer Tailored Interventions (CTI’s) on all four treated behaviors, while separate arm found no effects of clinician counseling on any behavior).

Prochaska, J.J., Velicer, W.F., Prochaska, J.O., Deluschi, KI., & Hall, S.M. (2006). Comparing treatment outcomes in smokers with single versus multiple behavior risks. Health Psychology, 25, 380–388. (First study to demonstrate comparable outcomes when treating 1, 2 or 3 behaviors simultaneously).

Prochaska, J.O. Wright, J.A., & Velicer, W.F. (2008). Evaluating Theories of Health Behavior Change: A Hierarchy of Criteria Applied to the Transtheroetical Model. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 57 (4), 561-588. (Hierarchy integrates criteria from different philosophies of science and hierarchy is applied from Perspectives of advocates and critics of TTM)

Prochaska, J.O. Wright, J.A., & Velicer, W.F. (2008). Evaluating Theories of Health Behavior Change: A Hierarchy of Criteria Applied to the Transtheroetical Model. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 57 (4), 561-588. (Hierarchy integrates criteria from different philosophies of science and hierarchy is applied from Perspectives of advocates and critics of TTM)

Prochaska, J.O., Evers, K.E., Johnson, J.L., Castle, P.H., Prochaska, J.M., Sears, L.E., Rula, E.Y., & Pope, J.E. (2011). The well-being assessment for productivity: A well-being approach to presenteeism. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 53(7), 735–742.

Prochaska, J.O., Evers, K.E., Castle, P.H., Johnson, J.L., Prochaska, J.M., Rula, E.Y., Coberley, C. & Pope, J.E. (2012). Enhancing multiple domains of well-being by decreasing multiple health risk behaviors: a randomized Clinical Trial. Population Health Management, 15 1-11

Prochaska, J.O., Norcross, J.C. & DiClemente. (2013). Applying the stages of change. Psychotherapy in Austrailia, 19(2), 10-15.

Professional Interests

Health promotion and cancer prevention through population based intervention programs, psychotherapy with individuals and couples.

Honors and Awards

One of the Top 3 Pre-eminent Clinical Psychologists of the Modern Era, Archives of Scientific Psychology, 2014.

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Governor Lincoln Chafee citation, in recognition of success in changed the way behavioral health serves are practice in Rhode Island, 2014

APA Division 38Award, Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology, APA Convention in Hawaii in August, 2013.

SOPHE Honorary Fellow, Highest award to non member who has made significant and lasting contributions to health education and the public’s health, Society for Public Health Education, 2011.

The Elizabeth Beckham Award, Excellence in Education and Inspirational Leadership, Columbia University, 2011.

Bertram Yaffe Award. Outstanding contributions to public health, Rhode Island Public Health Association, 2010.

Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award, Connecticut Psychological Association, 2009.

Elizabeth Ann Fries Health Education Award, Healthtrac Foundation, Society for Public Health Education 2005.

President’s Award, Rhode Island Council of Alcoholism, 2004.

Medal of Honor for Clinical Research, American Cancer Society, 2002.

Innovators Award, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2002.

Norman Zinberg Memorial Lecture on Addictions, Harvard University, 2002.

Rosalie L. Weiss Lecture, American Psychological Association, 2001.

CIANS Annual Honor for Career Contributions to Behavior Medicine (CIANS is Europe's oldest professional society for behavior medicine), 2001.

Council for Extramural Grants Committee, American Cancer Society, 2001-2004.

Society of Prospective Medicine L.C. Robbins Award for Career Contributions to Health Promotion, 2000.

Fellow, Society of Behavior Medicine, 2000.

Disease Management Association of America Award for Best Conference Presentation, 1999.

Fellow, Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 1996.

One of Top Five Most Cited Authors in Psychology, American Psychological Society, 1990-1995.

Honorary Professor of Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, 1995.

The Virginia S. DeHaan Lecture on Health Promotion and Education, Emory University, 1995.

The Merenda-Musiker Prize for Distinguished Contributors to Mental Health, Rhode Island Psychological
Association, 1995.

Scholarly Achievement Excellence Award, University of Rhode Island Foundation, 1992.

Author for the Surgeon General's Report, 1991.

Distinguished Therapist/Researcher in Residence, University of Texas Student Development Center, Austin, Texas, Jan Feb, 1983.

Fellow, International Academy of Eclectic Therapists, elected 1982.

Board of Directors, Rhode Island Psychological Association, 1972 1974.

Phi Beta Kappa, Wayne State University, June 1964.

Scholar Athlete of the Year of Michigan, National Football Foundation, 1963.

Graduate Student Research

Anne Fernandez. Readiness for HPV vaccination among male compared to female college students. 2013.

Lindsey Hellmann. Refining what works in tailoring: analyses of computer-tailored interventions. 2011.

Paul Krebs. Composition and comparison of stage effects for smoking cessation, dietary fat reduction, and sun protection. 2006.

Norma Perez. Exploring naturalistic health behavior change processes: Examining four risky health behaviors in minority and non-minority college students. 2004.

Julie Wright. Predictive power of TTM applied to dietary fat intake. 2002

Sara Johnson. Oral contraceptive use: The application of the Transtheoretical Model. 1995.

Janice Y. Tsoh. Stages of change, dropouts, and outcome in substance abuse treatment. 1995.

Diane M. Grimley. Contraceptive and condom use for the prevention of pregnancy, STDs, and AIDS: A transtheoretical approach. 1994.

Stanley Hughes. Levels of change attributions in smoking cessation. 1991.

Matthew Snow. A transtheoretical analysis of strategies in the recovery process from alcohol problems. 1991.

Army Costa. A transtheoretical analysis of stages and processes in psychotherapy. 1990.

Terrance Fitzgerald. Longitudinal typologies of smoking cessation. 1990.

Kathy Harvey. A transtheoretical analysis of brief therapy cases. 1990.

Mary Medeiros. Predicting drop out in psychotherapy: A transtheoretical analysis. 1989.

Ann Begin. Levels of change attribution in alcoholics, their spouses and therapists. 1988.

Dana Penny. Levels of change attributions in distressed women. 1988.

Daniel O'Connell. An observational coding scheme for therapeutic processes of change. 1988.

Pamela Olcott. Change processes in successful weight reduction. 1987.

Nancy S. Wilcox. Levels of attribution in psychotherapy. 1986.

Duane Lapsanski. The impact of personality and systems variables on smoking cessation and recidivism: An extension of the transtheoretical model of change. 1984.

Eileen McConnaughy. Relationships among stages of change, types of psychopathology, and psychotherapy outcome. 1984.

John Norcross. Women coping with psychological distress: The self change and therapy change experiences of psychologists, counselors, and laypersons. 1984.

Robert Cohen. Attribution styles of distressed and non distressed couples. 1982.

Katherine C. Haspel. Decreasing the dropout rate at a community mental health center. 1981.

John J. Kenny. A cognitive behavioral remotivation program for children with reading difficulties. 1980.

Carlo DiClemente. Perceived change processes in the successful cessation of smoking behavior. 1978.

Dolph Prinz. Reduction of internal anxiety vs. reduction of external stress in the early intervention with essential hypertension. 1978.

William Wilson. Adult developmental issues at ages 30 34 for mobile and non mobile married couples. 1977.

Normal DuPont. Expectancy effects and experimenter blindness in the desensitization of test anxiety. 1976.

Carol Heckerman. Internal and external controls added to the self control procedures for treating obesity. 1976.

William Merkel. Expectancy effects of therapists and subjects in the desensitization of snake phobias. 1976.

Robert Frazier. Behavior therapy and attitude change toward mental illness. 1975.

Judye Hess. Sex role development in psychiatrically disturbed female adolescents and their parents. 1975.

William Hancur. A comparison of the effectiveness of symptom, dynamic and a combination of symptom and dynamic cues in the desensitization of test anxiety. 1974.

Allan Schor. Acute grief in adulthood: Toward a theory of normal and pathological mourning. 1974.

Arnold Small. Sex role development in psychiatrically disturbed male adolescents and their parents. 1974.

Donald Spring. The effect of extended blocking motivation, chain flooding, and safety testing on approach measured fear reduction following response prevention in rats. 1973.

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