Empirical Testing

  • Cross-sectional studies are frequently used, but such studies cannot establish any causal relationships.
  • Prospective studies are recommended: measure theory constructs at baseline and then measure behavior at follow up intervals (some researchers measure past behavior, see literature for more analyses on this type of measurement).
  • Regression and structural equation modeling can test relationships between constructs.
  • The strengths of relationships can guide behavior change effort.

Albarracin, D., Johnson, B. T., Fishbein, M., and Muellerleile, P. A. Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior as Models of Condom Use: A Meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 2001, 127(1), 142-161.

  • Synthesis of 96 datasets (N=22,594) studying condom use according to TRA / TPB
  • Eligible studies reported associations among several variables relevant to condoms: behavior, intentions, attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control
  • Ineligible studies were those that did not contain the behavior or the intentional measure and if attitudes and norms were not assessed either directly or indirectly
  • Studies' reported correlations between constructs were retrieved and path analytic procedures were used to examine theoretical equations
  • Review indicated that TRA / TPB are successful predictors of condom use
    • Condom use was related to intentions (weighted mean r.=.45)
    • Intentions were based on attitudes (r.=.58) and subjective norms (r.=.39)
    • Attitudes were associated with beahvioral beliefs (r.=.56) and norms were associated with normative beliefs (r.=.46)
    • Perceived behavioral control was related to condom use intentions (r.=.45) and condom use (r.=.25)
    • The strength of the associations was influenced by the consideration of past behavior
  • Thus, people are more likely to use condoms if they have previously formed the corresponding intentions. These intentions to used condoms appear to derive from attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. These constructs, in turn, appear to derive from outcome and normative beliefs

Armitage CJ, Conner M. Efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behavior: A meta-analytic review. British Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 40, Number 4, December 2001, pp. 471-499(29).

  • Database of 185 studies
  • Dataset included 185 independent empirical tests of TPB. Of these, 44 contained prospective self-reported behavior measures and 19 prospective measures of behavior that were independently rated or were objective
  • Results indicated support for the efficacy of the TPB as a predictor of intentions and behavior. TPB accounted for 27% and 39% of the variance in behavior and intention, respectively. Perceived behavioral control was shown to independently predict intentions and behavior in a wide number of domains. TPB as a predictor was improved when behaviors were self-reported as opposed to observed behaviors.