History of Theory of Reasoned Action


The Theory of Reasoned Action was developed by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen in 1975 as an improvement over the information integration theory. Fishbein and Ajzen formulated the theory after trying to determine the differences between attitude and behavior. The first change from the integration theory is behavioral intention. This theory also acknowledges that there are factors that can limit the influence of attitude on behavior. For example, if our attitude leads us to want to go out clubbing but our bank account is suffering, the lack of money will change that attitude to staying in for the night. Therefore, Theory of Reasoned Action predicts behavioral intention, an in between for stopping at attitude predictions and actually predicting behavior because it separates behavioral intention from behavior.

Another improvement to the TRA is that it has two new elements, attitude and the expectations of other people (norms) to predict behavioral intent. So, when our attitude wants us to do one thing, the expectations of other people influence us to do something else. For example, Melissa’s attitudes may encourage her to wear High School Musical t- shirts to Pub 320, but the students in her class may think that she is weird and make fun of her. Lastly, subjective norms have two factors: normative beliefs (what I think others expect me to do) and willingness or the motivation to comply with norms (how much do I care about what others think of me).

Application of the Theory of Reasoned Action Promoting Breakfast Consumption

This study was conducted to see if application of this theory would increase breakfast consumption for students in secondary school in Iran. An instructional program was planned to promote breakfast consumption and the TRA was used as a model for behavioral intention. An intervention with knowledge about breakfast consumption is provided for the students. For data collection, a questionnaire was to be filled out before and after the intervention. The questionnaire had two parts. The first part had questions concerning knowledge about breakfast consumption and the second part, for TRA, was made from existing questionnaires. According to the data, subjective norms were the best predictors for breakfast consumption. The scores of questionnaires, before and after the intervention, showed that the intervention was the main cause of increase in knowledge.