Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Reasoned Action Theory

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_2938


The theory of reasoned action was first proposed by Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) to predict an individual's intention to engage in a behavior at a specific time and place. The theory was intended to explain virtually all behaviors over which people can exert self-control. Factors that influence behavioral choices are mediated through the variation of behavioral intent. In order to maximize the predictive ability of an intention to perform a specific behavior, it is critical that measures of the intent closely reflect the measures of the behavior, corresponding in terms of action, target, context and time. The predictive power of the model depends significantly on the identification of most or all of the salient outcomes associated with a given behavior for any particular target population.


  1. 1.
    Ajzen I, Fishbein M (1980) Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, NJGoogle Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag 2008