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Theories & Approaches

All Theories & Approaches

Relevance of the TRA

The TRA has been used to explain and predict many different health behaviors, including:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Condom use
  • Age at first intercourse
  • Clinical breast exam and mammography use
  • Flu vaccine use
  • Physical activity
  • Seat belt and safety helmet use

It is particularly relevant to sexuality education because it focuses on cognitive factors — beliefs and values. It is vital to understand these cognitive factors in order to intervene because beliefs and values about sexuality influence young people's decision-making about their sexual behavior. Moreover, these can differ significantly from one person to the next and from one population to the next.

In terms of designing interventions, it is also important to tease out whether a particular behavior is most significantly influenced by a person's attitudes, perceived subjective norms, or both. Interventions targeting specific attitudes would look quite different from those targeting subjective norms held within a particular community or population.

Next: Research Study Summaries