Behavioral beliefs and attitudes towards behaviours

Many studies have been conducted on The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) in predicting health behaviours among the people. The TPB model has been used as framework to determine the attitude and behaviour of the people. The qualitative research was done to evaluate the behaviour of the people and the factors which influence the intentions of the people i.e. ‘attitude toward the behaviour’, ‘subjective norm’, and ‘perceived behavioural control’. The review of this theory was helpful in understanding the “behavioural setting” and was used in designing the social marketing programs required by community care centre or healthy living centre such as Healthworks in Easington.


Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
Writers Experience
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
Writers Experience
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
Writers Experience
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

Going by the popular saying “Health is Wealth”, World Health Day is celebrated on 7th April all over the world to draw people’s awareness on the importance of health. The present research aims to provide a range of integrated health services which could improve the health and well being of people. The theoretical framework known as “The Theory of Planned Behaviour” was used to design the social marketing programs that would cater to the requirements of the people. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) model was developed from The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) to explain the inadequacies of the former model. The theory suggests that “attitudes could explain human actions” (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980).

Research Objectives

This dissertation attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of the current events of Healthworks. The key objective will be to identify the ways to increase the participation of the people. The final outcome will be to explore for the events which are of interest to the people and understand what people are looking for in these events.

Literature Review:

To describe human behaviour is one of the most complicated tasks for the student of psychology background. “Social and personality psychologists” concentrate on the middle level, the wholly operational person who dispenses the information by mediating the consequence of “biological and environmental factors” on behaviour. Notions referring to behavioural temperament, for instance “social attitude and personality trait” have major part in foreseeing and explaining human behaviour. (Ajzen, 1988; Campbell, 1963; Sherman & Fazio, 1983, citied by Ajzen 1991).

Over many years, psychologists developed theories which show how attitude impacts behaviour. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) was developed in the late 1960’s. This theory was later developed to examine “human behaviour and develop appropriate interventions”. In the late 1980’s, The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) came out from The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) to tackle the incompetence that Ajzen and Fishbien recognised during their research on TRA.

Together Fishbein and Ajzen investigated various directions to predict human behaviour and outcomes. It was under assumption that humans were logical and made methodical use of data accessible to them. Based on insinuation of their manners, people choose to involve or not involve in any activity. After researching in all the areas, they came up with Theory of Reasoned Action which could forecast and identify behaviour and attitude. One of the limitations of Theory of Reasoned Action was with the people “who have little or feel they have little power over their behaviours and attitudes”. Ajzen explained that the features of behaviour and attitudes are characteristics of the people from having little control to having greater control. To equalize this interpretation, Ajzen added the concept of “perceived behavioural control”. This resulted in the new theory called “Theory of Planned Behaviour”.

This theory is used to “predict and understand motivational influences on behaviour that is not under the individual’s volitional control”, “to identify how and where to target strategies for changing behaviour” and “explain virtually any human behaviour” such as why a person purchases a product. (Levine and Pauls, 1996)

The theory of planned behaviour by Icek Ajzen states that “human action” is directed by three factors: “beliefs about the likely outcomes of the behaviour and the evaluations of these outcomes (behavioural beliefs), beliefs about the normative expectations of others and motivation to comply with these expectations (normative beliefs), and beliefs about the presence of factors that may facilitate or impede performance of the behaviour and the perceived power of these factors (control beliefs)” Ajzen, I. (2006).

Particularly, the ‘behavioural beliefs’ creates an approving or non approving attitude towards the behaviour: the ‘normative beliefs’ gives rise to ‘perceived social pressure’ or ‘subjective norm’; and ‘control beliefs’ results in ‘perceived behavioural control’. The three factors ‘attitude toward the behaviour’, ‘subjective norm’, and ‘perceived behavioural control’ combined together in producing ‘behavioural intention’. In broad terms, the more approving the attitude of a person towards behaviour, the greater the subjective norm, the more the perceived behavioural control, the more powerful will be the individual’s intention reflects in a given case. Ultimately, it is the ‘actual behavioural control’ in any given case where an individual normally brings out ones intentions before the occasion takes place. Therefore intention is supposed to be instant predecessor of behaviour.

“However, the behaviour poses difficulties of execution that may limit volitional control; it is useful to consider perceived behavioural control in addition to intention. The perceived behavioural control is veridical; it can serve as a proxy for actual control and contribute to the prediction of the behaviour in question” Ajzen (2006).

“The TPB is a parsimonious theory that includes many factors identified as influential in physician behaviour change including guideline adoption. These encompass beliefs relating to the behaviour, guideline, and social influences as well as attitudes, PBC (i.e., self-efficacy), and behaviour intention (i.e., motivation). External variables relating to the physician (e.g., awareness, knowledge), patients (e.g., requests), guidelines (e.g., convenience), and environment (e.g. time, support staff) are also accounted for in the theory. As such, the TPB can be used empirically and systematically to identify factors influencing the intended behaviour. Fortunately, the theory is flexible enough to enable salient influences relating to specific situations to be included. Once identified, the nature of the influence can be explained, allowing developers to tailor the content of the guidelines to address these factors” (Ceccato et al. 2007).

The individual has greater control to do something (intention), let us look in detail the determining factors which influence the person’s intentions:

Attitude toward the behaviour (If a person is willing/prefers to do it)

Subjective norm (The social pressure involved in doing it)

Perceived behavioural control (If a person is in control of his actions)

As a result of altering the three factors, the person intentions to do an activity will be augmented and thereby increasing the likelihood of the person actually involving in that particular activity.

“The Theory of Planned Behaviour focuses on the intention as a locus of control and seems to be a powerful model that can allow investigation of additional variables related to intention. This theory has so far drawn attention of most health researchers and is currently being used to study health related behaviour” (Omondi et al. 2010). The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TBP) can be used in developing plans to assist people to take up ‘healthy behaviour’ and aid ‘the clinicians increase their uptake of guidelines’.

The variable names in this model reflect psychological constructs and so they have an extraordinary significance in the theory. A few concise descriptions are listed below:


In this research, the involvement is considered to change the behaviour of the people. “The target behaviour should be defined carefully in terms of its Target, Action, Context and Time (TACT)” Francis et al. (2004). For example, referring people with obesity issues to get involved in the physical activity event. The target is the patient with obesity issues, the referring is called the action, and the obesity issues are the context of the problem. ‘The principle of aggregation’ does not elucidate behavioural inconsistency across different scenarios and it does and at the same time it does not predict the certain behaviour in a particular state. The principle was intended to explain “the general attitudes and personality traits” existed in a human behaviour; however their control can be determined by overlooking at the cumulative and various suitable samples of the behaviour. Many other factors (direct and indirect) influence the behaviour. It is debatable to say that ‘broad attitudes and personality traits’ influence the behaviour indirectly by controlling other factors which are related to human behaviour. Ajzen (1991)


The TPB model is an extended version of the TRA model with restriction of dealing with human behaviour. The original theory says that a person’s intention to perform in a particular situation plays a major role. Intentions are supposed to confine the ‘motivational factors’ that controls the human behaviour. Intentions are signals of how a person is willing to attempt, how much energy a person is trying to apply, so as to carry out behaviour. Generally, the greater the intentions to perform behaviour, the stronger will be the performance. “However, that a behavioural intention can find expression in behaviour only if the behaviour in question is under volitional control, i.e., if the person can decide at will to perform or not perform the behaviour” Ajzen (1991).

Other behaviours might have the same constraint but the occurrence of the behaviour mostly varies on factors such as “non-motivational factors as availability of requisite opportunities and resources e.g.: time, money, skills, cooperation of others” Ajzen (1985). “According to the TPB, children with strong intentions to engage in physical activity are more likely to do so when compared to children with weaker intentions. Intentions are thought to be influenced by social expectations (i.e., the subjective norm), people’s attitudes, and perceptions of control” Martin et al. (2007). Together the factors listed signify the person’s ability to have control over the behaviour. Considering the access to the opportunities and resources, a person should be able to succeed in such scenarios. It is known that ‘behavioural achievement’ is based on ‘motivation (intention)’ and ‘ability (behavioural control)’. This is based on several other theories such as ‘animal learning’ by Hull, ‘level of aspiration’ by Lewis et al., ‘performance on psychomotor and cognitive tasks’ by Pleishman and ‘person perception and attribution’ by Heider. The hypothesis is that motivation and ability act together with effects on human behaviour. Therefore it can be concluded that intentions have an effect on ‘behavioural control’ and with a level of motivation, the performance will augment with ‘behavioural control’.

Perceived Behavioural Control

As briefed above, ‘the recourses and the opportunities’ accessible to person might affect the ‘behavioural achievement’. It actually depends on the ‘psychological interest’ when compared to ‘actual control’ to influence the intentions of the human behaviour. ‘Perceived behavioral control’ acts as a vital element in the TPB model.

“Perceived behavioural control is broadly equivalent to Bandura’s (1977) concept of self-efficacy (Ajzen, 1998) and refers to people’s appraisals of their ability to perform behaviour. The more positive people’s attitudes and subjective norms are regarding behaviour, and the greater their perceived behavioural control, the stronger people’s intentions to perform the behaviour will be. Similarly, the stronger people’s intentions, and the greater their perceived behavioural control, the more likely it is that people will perform the behaviour. The theory of planned behaviour assumes that intentions and perceived behavioural control mediate the effects of attitudes, subjective norms, and external variables (e.g., age, gender, socioeconomic status) on behaviour” (Sheeran et al. 2001).

The perceived behavioural control in the TPB model is different from perceived locus of control in Rotter’s model (1966). With many factors depending on the human behaviour, ‘perceived behavioural control’ relates to an individual’s opinion in acting on the behavioural interest varies in different scenarios when compared to the locus of control which often remains constant in different scenarios. Generally in this way, a person thinks that one’s actions depend on ones ‘internal locus of control’ and at that instance thinks that one has low levels of confidence for success. The ‘theory of achievement motivation’ by Atkinson (1964) also refers to the concept of ‘perceived control’. The perceived control is based on the probability of having success in a specific area. In one way, it falls in the same category of perceived behavioural control as it relates the behaviour to a given task. “Paradoxically, the motive to achieve success is defined not as a motive to succeed at a given task but in terms of a general disposition which the individual carries about him from one situation to another. This general achievement motivation was assumed to combine multiplicatively with the situational expectancy of success as well as with another situation-specific factor, the ‘incentive value’ of success” (Atkinson 1964, citied by Ajzen 1991).

Another model by Bandura which introduces “perceived self-efficacy” in 1977 is close in explaining the ‘perceived behavioral control’. It explains how the decisions were made to specific situations. Following the research on perceived behavioural control, it revealed that a person’s behaviour is based on ones confidence on oneself to perform a task. “Self-efficacy beliefs can influence choice of activities, preparation for an activity, effort expended during performance, as well as thought patterns and emotional reactions (Bandura 1982, citied by Ajzen 1991). The concept of ‘self-efficacy belief or perceived behavioral control’ explains the human beliefs, attitudes of person in different situations, intentions towards a given task and behaviour in the TPB model.

The TPB model states that ‘perceived behavioral control along with behavioural intention’ can be used to determine ‘behavioral achievement’. The two underlying principles for this theory are ‘holding intention constant’ where an attempt to bring out the human behaviour with augment in perceived behavioral control. E.g.: If two persons have same level of intention to participate in physical activity event and both trying to act on it, the individual who is high on confidence is more probable to persist than the individual who suspects his capability. “Perceived behavioural control suggests there are times where, despite best intentions to act in a certain manner, individuals feel incapable of fulfilling a planned activity” (Fogarty et al. nd). The other principle for establishing a relation between ‘perceived behavioral control and behavioral achievement’ is that the later is applied as an alternative to determine the ‘measure of actual control’ and this is dependent on preciseness of the human perceptions.

“Perceived behavioral control may not be particularly realistic when a person has relatively little information about the behaviour, when requirements or available resources have changed, or when new and unfamiliar elements have entered into the situation. Under those conditions, a measure of perceived behavioral control may add little to accuracy of behavioral prediction” (Ajzen, 1991). Besides all these factors ‘perceived behavioral control’ can be applied to foresee the likelihood of a ‘successful behavioral attempt’.

Predicting Behaviour:

The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) says that the display of behaviour is a combination of ‘perceived behavioural control and intention’. One of the issues with the outcome is that the prediction has to be right. The measures of ‘perceived behavioural control and intention’ should match up or be similar to behaviour that has to be calculated. “The intentions and perceptions of control must be assessed in relation to the particular behaviour of interest, and the specified context must be the same as that in which the behaviour is to occur” (Ajzen, 1991).

For e.g. if the behaviour forecasted is “giving money to participate in an event, then the assessment has to be done for the intentions to give money to participate in event (not the intentions of giving money and not the intention to help the XYZ company grow) and the ‘perceived control’ of giving money to XYZ company.”

The second prerequisite for the accuracy in measuring ‘behavioural prediction’ is the ‘perceived behavioural control and intention’ should be constant in the intermission of measurement and examination of the behaviour. Some events might bring up modification in the perception of ‘behavioural control’.

The final condition for accurate behavioural prediction is with the preciseness of ‘perceived behavioural control’. Hence the forecasting of behaviour derived from ‘perceived behavioural control’ must get better to the amount for which the opinion of ‘behavioural control’ indicates the actual control.

“The relative importance of intentions and perceived behavioural control in the prediction of behaviour is expected to vary across situations and across different behaviours. When the behaviour/situation affords a person complete control over behavioural performance, intentions alone should be sufficient to predict behaviour, as specified in the theory of reasoned action. The addition of perceived behavioural control should become increasingly useful as volitional control over the behaviour declines. Both, intentions and perceptions of behavioural control, can make significant contributions to the prediction of behaviour, but in any given application, one may be more important than the other and, in fact, only one of the two predictors may be needed” (Ajzen, 1991). “The TPB suggests that a certain behaviour can be predicted by a person’s intention to perform that behaviour, which in turn is determined by three cognitive factors: attitudes (the cognitive-affective evaluations of that behaviour), perceived behavioural control (PBC) (perceived competence to perform that behaviour), and subjective norm (approval of that behaviour by significant others)” Van de Van et al. (2007).

There has been proof regarding the relation between ‘intention and action’ which was gathered from various forms of behaviours in the previous model of theory of reasoned action (TRA). The result of this research can be found in different sources from Ajzen, Fishbein, Canary, Sheppard and others. The research has been done from basic to complex scenarios such as students’ attitudes towards ICT-based learning interactions, to explain teenagers’ adoption of text messaging, Patterns of Health Behaviour Change and electing prospective contestants in an election. But the best example will be in the behaviour where a person has to choose from different substitutes available.

Predicting Intentions: Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Perceived Behavioural Control

The three factors which determine the theory of planned behaviour (TBP) are the self-reliant of intentions namely ‘Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Perceived Behavioural Control’. The attitude of a person towards a particular behaviour relates to the extent of which a person possesses positive or negative valuation or assessment of behaviour in any case. “The behavioural intentions are independently determined by attitudes and subjective norms. Attitudes are positive or negative evaluations of objects or behaviours, and subjective norms are measures of the perceived social pressure to engage (or not) in the behaviour” (O’Connor and Armitage, 2003). The second antecedent of intention is ‘subjective norms’ which relates to the apparent societal anxiety to execute or not to execute the behaviour. The third predictor for intention is ‘perceived behavioural control’, it relates to the supposed effortlessness or complicatedness of carrying out the behaviour and it is also supposed to consider previous experience along with probable impediments and barrier. The more positive the ‘attitude and subjective norm’ will be , the stronger will be the ‘perceived behavioural control’ and the greater will be a person’s objective to carry out the behaviour in question. The comparative significance of ‘attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control’ in foreseeing the intention is supposed to differ from various scenarios and actions. Therefore, in some cases it is believed that attitudes play a major role in intentions and in other cases, it is ‘attitudes and perceived behavioural control’ which contributes in determining intentions and in the remaining cases it is found that all the three factors have significant impact on intentions. “TPB would suggest interventions to enhance positive psychosocial behaviours are targeted toward identification of attitudes and perceptions of norms and perceived behavioural control relevant to these psychosocial behaviours, followed by e¬ˆorts to modify these cognitions” (Andrykowski et al. 2006).

Role of Beliefs in Human Behaviour

The theory of planned behaviour explains about the predecessors of ‘attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control’ with the objective to explain the determinants of behaviour of a person to establish the links with intentions and manners. “The theory postulates that behaviour is a function of salient information, or beliefs, relevant to the behaviour. People can hold a great many beliefs about any given behaviour, but they can attend to only a relatively small number at any given moment” (Milier 1956, citied by Ajzen 1991).

These are the leading viewpoints which are measured as dominant determinants in evaluating an individual’s behaviour and intentions. The three types of beliefs listed in the model which determines attitudes, subjective norm and perceived behaviour control are behavioural beliefs, normative beliefs and control beliefs influence, provide and constitute the base of the TPB model.

Behavioural Beliefs and Attitudes toward Behaviours

“Attitudes are generally believed to be the results of personal and social influences” (Pedersen et al. nd). Many existing social psychologists consider that attitude is formed by ‘information-processing approach’. This is illustrated by ‘expectancy-value model of attitudes’ framed by Fishbein and Ajzen in 1975. This model states that the attitudes are cultivated from an individual’s faith embraced by the entity of an attitude. Normally the beliefs are formed about an entity by relating it with certain characteristics, i.e. with other things, attributes, qualities, aspect, features or events. For each case which regards ‘attitude towards a behaviour’, the behaviour beliefs relates to certain result or to characteristics such as rate applied to perform behaviour. The characteristics that are related to the behaviour could be favourable or unfavourable but they routinely and concurrently get hold of ‘an attitude toward the behaviour’. In this manner, the human behaviour are influenced by different factors which could be positive or negative attitude towards the behaviour where a person would like to get involved.

“The outcome’s subjective value contributes to the attitude in direct proportion to the strength of the belief, i.e., the subjective probability that the behaviour will produce the outcome in question. The strength of each salient belief (b) is combined in a multiplicative fashion with the subjective evaluation (e) of the belief’s attribute, and the resulting products are summed over the n salient beliefs. A person’s attitude (A) is directly proportional to this summative belief index” (Ajzen, 1991).

It can be investigated that an attitude’s informational base by extracting relevant beliefs concerning entity of the attitude and measuring ‘subjective probabilities and values associated with the different beliefs’. With all the variables put together, attitude can be estimated. “Since this estimate is based on salient beliefs about the attitude object, it may be termed a belief-based measure of attitude. If the expectancy-value model specified in equation is valid, the belief-based measure of attitude should correlate well with a standard measure of the same attitude” (Ajzen, 1991).

‘The general expectancy-value model of attitude’ has been investigated for its relevance to behaviour. In a basic study by Ajzen and Fishbein, “the global measure of attitude is obtained, usually by means of an evaluative semantic differential, and this standard measure is then correlated with an estimate of the same attitude based on salient beliefs”. The outcome has been backed up with the theoretical relation between ‘salient beliefs and attitudes’. Different factors are accountable for low correlation between ‘salient beliefs and attitudes’.

Normative Beliefs and Subjective Norms

‘Normative beliefs’ are based on the possibility that significant people agree or disagree of a particular behaviour. “The strength of each normative belief (n) is multiplied by the person’s motivation to comply (in) with the referent in question, and the subjective norm (SN) is directly proportional to the sum of the resulting products across the n salient referents as represented in the equation” (Ajzen, 1991).

“Subjective norm would be the main predictor of a behavioural intention for behaviours in which normative implications are dominant. Subjective norm may be more salient during the early stages of technology diffusion if users have limited knowledge that forms the attitude toward the use of the technology” (Taylor and Todd 1995 citied by Truong). The subjective norm can be evaluated by requesting feedback from the correspondents to mark the level of positive or negative reflection of the human behaviour with respect to how others feel about a given case. The equation points out that a person might surrender to the pressure to perform behaviour. ‘Motivation to comply (mi)’ indicates that the person’s behaviour with respect to other individual or a group of individuals is significant to everyone (Chen, 2007).

“Self-identity has been proposed as an extension to the normative component of the TPB. Self-identity was developed within the sociological literature, and has recently been extended to social cognition models. Self-identity reflects the idea that intentions are linked to identifiable societal roles and that these roles drive intentions” (Armitage and Conner, 1999). An experimental study by Ajzen and Fishbein in 1980 proves that the connection between “global measures of subjective norm and belief-based measure is usually obtained with bipolar scoring of normative beliefs and unipolar scoring of motivation to comply. With such scoring, correlations between belief-based and global estimates of subjective norm are generally in the range of .40 to .80, not unlike the findings with respect to attitudes”.

Control Beliefs and Perceived Behavioural Control

The theory of planned behaviour model states that the collection with the beliefs which decide on intentions and actions are based on the available ‘resources and opportunities’. The ‘control beliefs’ are determined by the previous or current occurrence of the behaviour. These are generally inclined by the information which has come from other people through the knowledge familiarity of friends, relatives and connections and through other areas which augment or diminish the ‘perceived difficulty’ of executing the behaviour in any specific case. The greater the number of available means of chances and resources the person is supposed to have, the less amount of barriers or obstruction the person will expect, the more will be the perceived control of the behaviour.

“In situations where prediction of behaviour from intention is likely to be hindered by the level of actual (i.e. volitional) control, PBC should (1) facilitate the implementation of behavioural intentions into action, and (2) predict behaviour directly”(Armitage and Conner, 2001).”The control belief (c) is multiplied by the perceived power (p) of the particular control factor to facilitate or inhibit performance of the behaviour, and the resulting products are summed across the ‘n’ salient control beliefs to produce the perception of behavioural control (PBC). Thus, just as beliefs concerning consequences of behaviour are viewed as determining attitudes toward the behaviour and normative beliefs are viewed as determining subjective norms, so beliefs about resources and opportunities are viewed as underlying perceived behavioural control” (Ajzen, 1991).

“The direct measure of the perceived control assesses how much control individuals think they have in performing the behaviour in question. The indirect measure of the perceived control is generally attained by evaluating certain factors called control beliefs that are likely to make it easier or more difficult to perform behaviour” (Nejad et al., 2005). Currently a few investigations such as Ajzen & Madden in 1986 have been explored the connection between “specific control beliefs and perceived behavioural control”. Evaluation of the perceived simplicity or complexity in getting involved in any spare time activity is directly linked with “belief-based measures of perceived behavioural control”. For example: getting involved or participating in outdoor physical activity then the control factors could be not being in proper appearance and bad ambience for running around the area.

In a nutshell, the analysis for the different types of beliefs serves as a base for “attitude toward a behaviour, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control” has been partially success. The problem area is the average relationship between “belief-based indices” and other variables.

Other studies indirectly related to the expectancy-value models explore the “prediction of intentions” in the theory of reasoned action (TRA) framework. The study by Ellen and Madden influences the participant’s responses by grading the “attitudes, subjective norms, and intentions” with reference to various behaviours in different scenarios. “For some behaviour and contexts, affective variables may be important for understanding and predicting behaviour. Many researchers have argued that attitude refers not only cognitive components but also affective ones” (Cho and Walton, nd). The study was done by framing an interview questions according to behaviour in a haphazard manner with the help of manual and computer-aided configuration set up. The intentions were predicted for “attitudes and subjective norms” and the outcome was superior with vigilant response than the other circumstances. “The relation between global and belief-based measures of attitudes is not meant to question the general idea that attitudes are influenced by beliefs about the attitude object. This idea is well supported, especially by experimental research in the area of persuasive communication: A persuasive message that attacks beliefs about an object is typically found to produce changes in attitudes toward the object” (McGuire, 1985; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986 citied by Ajzen 1991).

In the same way, “the persuasive communications directed at particular normative or control beliefs will influence subjective no

You Might Also Like

I'm Alejandro!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out