Maryland's Tobacco Resource Center - Linking Professionals to Best Practices

Theory of Reasoned Action/Theory of Planned Behavior

 

Overview

The Theory of Reasoned Action/Theory of Planned Behavior suggests that an individual’s behavior is determined by their intention to engage in the behavior, which—in the case of tobacco use—is a result of the individual’s:

  • Attitudes: An individual’s beliefs about the attributes and outcomes of using tobacco (or quitting), weighted by their evaluations of these attributes or outcomes.
  • Subjective Norms: An individual’s beliefs regarding important others’ approval or disapproval of tobacco use (normative beliefs), weighted by their motivation to comply with these important others’ wishes.
  • Perceived Behavioral Control: An individual’s perceived control over tobacco use in the presence or absence of facilitators and barriers to quitting

In general, according to this model, the more positive the attitude and the subjective norms are (towards cessation), and the greater the perceived control is, the stronger the individual’s intention will be to terminate tobacco use.

 

Key Constructs

Construct

Definition for Tobacco User’s

Behavioral Intention

Perceived likelihood of continuing to smoke or of quitting smoking

 

Experiential Attitude (Affect)

Belief that using tobacco or engaging in cessation is associated with certain positive or negative feelings

Instrumental Attitude

Belief that using  tobacco or engaging in cessation is associated with certain attributes or outcomes, and values attached to these outcomes or attributes

Subjective (Injunctive) Norm

Belief about whether most individuals (and/or important others) approve or disapprove of tobacco use or cessation, and degree of motivation to comply with these views

Descriptive Norm

Belief about whether most individuals (and/or important others) use tobacco or have quit using tobacco

Perceived Behavioral Control

Perceived likelihood of various events occurring that will act to facilitate or thwart  tobacco use or cessation, and the perceived impact that such events will have in making tobacco use or cessation difficult or easy

Self-Efficacy

Perceived ability to overcome various events or conditions that may act as a barrier to tobacco cessation

 

Strategies to Use with Tobacco Users

  • Assess the degree to which the client intends to change their tobacco use behavior
  • Discuss the positive and negative expectancies the client has for tobacco use, and provide feedback about incorrect expectancies
  • Ask the client whether family members and friends support tobacco use
  • Draw attention to the social pressure to quit using tobacco
  • Provide contact with others who have quit using tobacco
  • Work to build self-efficacy for quitting smoking and staying quit in challenging situations
References: 

Table adapted from:

Montano, D.E., & Kasprzyk. (2008). Theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behavior, and the integrated behavioral model. In Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viswanath K, Eds. (4th ed). Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp 67-96.