Development of Theory of Planned Behavior

The development of the Theory of Planned Behavior was built off of what was assumed of human behavior in the Theory of Reasoned Action. This theory was presented in Icek Ajzen in 1985 in his article “From Intentions to Actions: A Theory of Planned Behavior”. Both theories postulate that a person’s behavioral intentions and their attitudes about a certain behavior are determined by being able to understand that person’s behavioral and normative beliefs as well as the social norms for the society that they are within. The main difference between the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Theory of Reasoned Action is that there is a greater chance of being able to understand a person’s actual attitudes through the Theory of Planned Behavior that result in the physical behavior that is being carried out (Martin, 2017). The primary reason the Theory of Planned Behavior is more accurate is due to the addition of perceived behavioral control which takes into account if a person truly believes that they have control over the behavior which they want to carry out (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005).

In Ajzen’s original article he describes this theory using an example where a father intends to bring his children fishing. In Ajzen’s example, the intention is to make time for this activity, prepare the equipment and the fishing license that is needed. The success of this intention depends on the person’s individual control of all the different factors that go into this action (Ajzen, 1985). This example brings to light the fact that just the intention of the action will do nothing unless you have control of all the smaller factors that go into the final behavior.

The application of this theory can be used in all different sorts of fields and industries ranging from the healthcare field, politics, and even general businesses and organizations. This theory is based around understanding and predicting human behaviors, which allows for such a wide range of uses. Within the healthcare field, it can be used to study disease prevention, pharmacology companies, birth control,and even family planning (Martin, 2017).

The Theory of Planned Behavior is broken down into a person’s attitude, their perceived behavioral control, and the subjective norms of society which all influence a person’s intention and ultimately the final behavior.

Concept Definition
Behavioral Intention The perceived likelihood of a person carrying out this behavior. Are they likely or unlikely to carry out this behavior?
Attitude A person’s individual feelings and evaluation of the behavior. Do they see this behavior or action as a good or bad?
Subjective Norm How others in society view this behavior. Do others approve or disapprove of this action?
Perceived Behavioral Control The individual belief that one has control over a specific action or behavior. Do they believe that they can successfully carry out this behavior?

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005)

The Theory of Planned Behavior uses a person’s personal attitude and opinion in combination with their perceived control of the behavior and societies’ subjective norms to influence their behavioral intention which will lead to the behavior or action. In some cases, if someone has a negative attitude and feel that they do not have control of this action, that will lead to the person being less likely to carry out that action. Also, if people within society do not approve of this action, then it would have a negative impact on a person’s intention for the action. An individual’s attitude and perceived behavioral control can have a positive or a negative impact on their intention and the action of the behavior depending on that individuals’ personal views.



Women getting screening for breast cancer

Concept Definition
Behavioral Intention I intend to get my regular exams and screenings to check for breast cancer
Attitude Getting regular exams and screenings are a good thing for me to do.
Subjective Norm Getting regular checkups and screenings are supported by society and my doctors
Perceived Behavioral Control I have places that I can go to get this done and it is within my control

Result: The attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control all support getting regular checkups and screenings, which makes the action of getting the screening much more likely.