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Theories & Approaches

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Key Concepts of Theory of Reasoned Action

The TRA is based on eight key concepts, as described in MontaƱo et al.3 (from which the following table is adapted):

TRA Concept
Definition
Behavior A specific behavior defined by four components: an action (e.g., using condoms), a target (e.g., commercial sex workers), a context (at home with long-term partners), and time (always)
Behavioral Intention Perceived likelihood of performing the behavior (as perceived by the person considering the behavior)
Attitude A person's positive or negative feelings about performing a specific behavior
Behavioral Belief A belief that behavioral performance is associated with certain attributes or outcomes (if I study hard for the SATs for a few months, I will probably get a higher score than I did last year without studying at all)
Evaluation The value attached to a behavioral outcome or attribute (if I study hard and get a better score on the SATs, that is a good or thing because it will increase the chances of getting into a good college)
Subjective Norm Beliefs about what others will think about the behavior (getting into a good college would make my parents proud)
Normative Beliefs Belief about whether key individuals and groups approve or disapprove of the behavior (my parents, friends, and teachers think going to a good college is important and approve of people who attain this achievement)
Motivation to Comply Whether or not the person's intentions and behavior will be affected by what others think (it matters a lot to me what my parents, friends, and teachers think about my plans for my education and my life)

Next: How the TRA was Developed


3 MontaƱo, DE, Kasprzyk, D, and Taplin, S. The Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior. In: Glanz, K, Lewis, FM, and Rimer, BK (Eds). Health Behavior and Health Education (Second Edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

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