Is it Time to Retire the Theory ofPlanned Behavior                      PY0770 HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY IN THEORY AND PRACTICE SEMESTER 1             Calhoun, Farley I.         ID# W17024370                                                                            Northumbria University                                                                   Word Count 2400           IntroductionThe theory of Planned Behaviortends to explain human behaviors by relating them to planned behaviors. Thereare four variables that explain the planned behaviors in health science; thevariables include attitude, Subjective norm, behavior intention and thebeliefs. However, current studies have criticized the arguments on the basis ofthe number of explanatory measures as well as the assumptions of the study. Conceptual Basis of Theory of Planned BehaviorThe Theory of Planned Behaviorlinks the behavior of individuals with their beliefs. The model was suggestedby Icek Ajzen with the aim of forecasting the power of the theory of reasonedaction through including the understood behavioral control (Ajzen, 1991).

Overthe years the model has been used to study human relations, beliefs, behavioralintentions as well as the attitude of a person. The theory states that thedisposition of the mind towards behavior, perceived behavior control as well asthe subjective norms, sum up to shape a person’s behavior and behavioralintentions. There are various studies that have been carried out to test thecorrelation of attitude and subjective norms. The studies show a positivecorrelation between those attitudes of an individual and the subjective normsto the behavioral course of action that an individual intends to follow. Based on the Theory of PlannedBehavior, there are two scenarios that result to more significant intentionwhich is referred to motivations. Firstly, in cases where individuals examinethe proposed behaviors to be positive which is referred to the attitude.Secondly, in cases where people think that their superiors want them toshowcase the behavior which is called the subjective norm.

The theory ofPlanned Behavior together with the attitudes and the subjective norms, themodel also incorporated the concept of behavioral control which is perceived.The concept of behavioral control originated from the self-efficacy theorywhich was suggested by Bandura. According to the Self-Efficacy Theory, somehuman expectation such as performance, motivation as well as frustration whichare direct, indirectly or inversely connected to recurring failure is thedeterminants of the effect and the human reaction to a cause of action.Therefore, the Theory of Planned Behavior suggests that self-efficacy is themost significant prior condition for behavioral transformation, because itdetermines the origin of copied mannerisms. The concept of Self-efficacy hasallowed the Theory of Planned Behavior to be applicable on health-related areaswhich included physical activities and mental health issues mainly in personsbefore the adolescent age.How the Theory of Planned Behavior Conceptualizes Behaviorand Behavior ChangeThe Theory of Planned Behaviorproposes that the beliefs determine the behavior of a person or even an animalabout behavior which is also called the attitudes, the intentions of anindividual as well as the subjective norms. The theory suggests that thebehavior control which is defined to be the belief of an individual’scapability to perform a behavior and the intentions of a given behavior to bethe determinants of behavior.

Subjective norms are constructedin analogous notion to the injunctive reinforcement property of other socialreinforcement theories and are one that is made operational by the more generalconstruct of social reinforcement. Therefore, subjective norm refers to the waypeople that are related to us feel about our specific behavior. For instance,most people that are related to some a given student perceive that the studentshould not smoke a cigarette. Therefore, if most people in one’s lifedisapprove of them smoking, then they are likely not to smoke a cigarette,therefore, according to Theory of Planned Behavior subjective norms majors onthe reference group. The behavior perceived by an individual is one dependenton the perceiver’s behavior and not the general behavior of an individual.Injunctive and subjective norms share most of the components.

However,injunctive norms are consistent with the social impact theory. Therefore,stipulations pertaining the behavior of the perceiver and the reference groupare not included in the injunctive norms.In addition, an individual’sbehavior is determined by the intention of the individual to engage in a givenbehavior. The desire for individual behavior is also influenced by thesignificance by which an individual put on the behavior. For instance, astudent may choose to study medicine in college due to the significant he/sheplaces on human health. What is more, according to thetheory of planned behavior, an individual’s behavior and/or change in behavioris also influenced by the ease to portray a certain behavior. The ability toperform a task using less effort influences the individual’s desire to performa certain task. An alternative to an easier way to perform a certain taskinfluences a person to change the behavior with preference to the easier one.

For instance, while one is listening to an important speech, they would chooseto record the speech rather than writing it in a booklet.  Empirical Evidence for the Theory of Planned Behavior andits ComponentsThe issue of usingcontraceptives which is the intentional means of preventing pregnancy is anissue of concern in the world. Studies have shown that more than 130 millionwomen who are between 15 and 49 years of age who are in a union or married haveunsatisfied desire for family planning. The issue of unmet needs of familyplanning is mainly evidenced in developing countries such as Uganda. Familyplanning education can be a solution to unwanted pregnancies (Kiene, Hopwood,Lule, & Wanyenze, 2014). One of the major model that has been used toexplain the use of contraceptives most especially condom use is Theory ofPlanned Behavior.

In 2014, an empirical based testwas carried out to investigate the Theory of Planned Behavior that is appliedto the use of contraceptives in rural areas of Uganda. There are other factorsaffecting individual-level components that are addressed by the Theory ofPlanned Behavior. Also, other social cognitive conceptual representation usedto explain the working of a real-world system. Structural components which arenot addressed by Theory of Planned Behavior are also a major factor thatcontributes to the use of contraceptives. According to the Theory of PlannedBehavior, insufficient family planning services and health care services arethe major causes of abortion and unwanted pregnancies.A sample of 253 women rangingbetween 20-46 years was used in the study. 92% of the women were married or inthe union. 81% of the women were education or rather have received someschooling.

The three behaviors that were used in the study were whether thewomen discuss family planning issues with their husbands, couples that went forcounseling regarding family planning as well as couples that used familyplanning methods. The questions related to attitude were formatted as ‘howwould you feel about…’ The questions related to perceiving behavior controlwere formatted as ‘how difficult or easy would it be for you to…’ The responsesin the two circumstances were having a range of 5 points. In addition, the teamon intention had the questions reading as ‘In the future, do you intend to…’The response was a ‘no’ or ‘yes’ answer.The model was found to be a goodfit to explain reasons why there is the low usage of contraceptives innon-western countries. The mode also predicted some behaviors related tocontraceptive usage in Uganda.

Perceived behavioral control, norms as well asattitude were found to be the significant predictors of the use ofcontraceptives. Perceived behavioral control was the major predictor intentionin the empirical test.  Other Factors Related with Equal Significance in DeterminingBehavior that are not Include in the Theory of Planned BehaviorThe Theory of Planned Behaviorhas successfully been used to explain various health behaviors includingsmoking, drinking as well as breastfeeding. There are three factors that areaddressed by the model that explain health behaviors. These factors includeattitudes, behavioral intention, social norms, perceived behavioral control as wellas the subjective norms.

However, other significant factors are equallyimportant in determining behaviors. Nonetheless, the model does not addressthese factors. The components either determine the behavior of an individual, agroup and or the population.Firstly, the model does notaccount for behaviors that are mostly influenced by fear more than thedeterminants of behavior and behavior change. Fear may influence the behaviorof an individual, a group and/or population. For instance, a lactating mothermay choose not to breastfeed a baby with the fear of losing their body shape.However, the model does not factor in the factor of fear in the model. Secondly, the past experience ofa group, an individual and/or population can influence their behavior.

Arecurrent of a behavior or an event can influence the operation of a person.The model, however, does not account for the variables connected to pastexperiences. For instance, an individual may choose to quit drinking in caseswhere they learn that their parents died in a road accident while driving underthe influence of alcohol. The model also does not accountfor behaviors that are related to threats. Some behaviors portrayed by anindividual might be solely dependent on a threat made to an individual.However, the model does not give an account for of such a factor. What is more,some human operations may be solely related to the moods of an individual.

Forinstance, one may decide to drink also alcohol solely because they are feelingsad or while they are celebrating. The model does not address thetime frame between the intent and the behavioral action. The time frame of themodel is a significant factor that requires being addressed by the model. Thetime span between the intent and the behavior action might be a significantfactor related to the behavior an individual output (Ogden, 2015). The modelassumes that the behavior of a person is dependent on a linear process ofdecision making. However, some behaviors are as a result of change over time.

Some outcomes of a given intent are the cause action of the time between intentand the behavioral action. What is more, the model does notaddress behavior action of a person, a group or a given population due to thatis related to the environment surrounding or the economic factors. The modelconsiders the normative factors that influence behaviors.

Does the Theory of Planned Behavior Meet the Criteria of a”Good” theory?Various studies have been done concerning the validity ofthe Theory of Planned Behavior to meet the qualities of a good theory. Themajor issue of concern is whether a volitional theory is adequately elaboratedusing only four explanatory variables. To be precise, the theory focusses onrational reasoning and ignores unconscious control on human behavior such asfear (Conner, Gaston, Sheeran, & Germain, 2013). What is more, the theorydoes not explain future behaviors as well as the impact of the behaviors on theprocess of knowing (McEachan et al., 2011). Other researchers also question theopenness of the model to falsification of the empirical evidence. Also, themodel does not explain the hypothesis of the study is based on essential commonsenses.

Therefore, they can be falsified. Reviews also indicate that themajority of variability in identified behavior is not credited for by thevariables of the Theory of Planned Behavior. The concern of the validity of thetheory raises issues related to the conflict of the evidence.

The assumptionsof the theory conflict with the evidence of the model. For instance, believesover predicts the behavior of an individual (Gardner, De Bruijn, & Lally,2011). Therefore, the model is not a ‘good’ theory. The model requires somemodification to provide an extension of the Theory of Planned Behavior. The human behavior is different,and people always consider situations from different perspectives.

Therefore, atheory can also be useful even if it is not entirely accurate. The model can bea phenomenon that has been observed reliably in a systematic empiricalresearch. A failure to produce the similar outcomes during the initial testingof the model and the replication differs in some important way from the initialstudy. Consider the theory on the reflection of the multistore model of thememory of an individual. The theory is cited in books and by researchersdespite the fact that it is known to be inaccurate. The theory can be used toorganize old phenomena as well as forecasting new phenomena.

Therefore, atheory that is considered not to be ‘good’ can be used to organize othertheories with significant efficiency and clarity. Secondly, an inaccuratetheory has some factual basis that can be used to test new situations. What ismore, the theory can be used to generate a new model or an investigation bygiving rise to more questions.  How other researches and theory in other fields contradictthe model?Other researches have providedcontradicting evidence on the Theory of Planned Behavior. Firstly, thereligiosity affects the pro-social behaviors by strengthening positiveattitude. Research also shows that religion does not affect the pro-socialbehaviors. Therefore, the issue of religiosity contradicts the aspect ofplanned behavior that forecasts that attitude fosters behavior. In addition, the theory ignoresthe independent thoughts of an individual portraying a certain behavior.

Forinstance, some reactions are merely out of thoughts of a person and not anyplanned behavior. Also, the theory does not address the issue of people whoreact to a situation due to cases related to a nervous breakdown or mentallyretarded persons. In the case of a mentally retarded person, they tend tooutput some behaviors due to their surrounding or the influence of a specificdrug. However, the research does not provide information on such behavior of aperson that is influenced by drugs or a disease.

What is more, the Theory ofPlanned Behavior has lost its usefulness. Three decades after the model wassuggested, it does not help the health practitioners get an intervention in theemerging issues. The theory does not provide an explanatory measure thatdiffers from other theories.                                                                     ConclusionIn conclusion, the Theory ofPlanned Behavior has various unexplained variations. However, the study shouldnot be allowed to retire yet.

Instead, modifications can be done on the modelwhich allows it to be useful in the evolving world. Other than retiring, themodel can also be used in future researches and theories.      ReferencesAjzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior.” Organizational behavior and human decision                   processes 50(2), 179-211.Conner, M.

, Godin, G., Sheeran, P., & Germain, M.(2013). Some feelings are more important: Cognitive attitudes, anticipatedaffect, and blood donation. HealthPsychology, 32(3), 264.Gardner, B.

, de Bruijin, G. J., & Lally, P. (2011).

Asystematic review and meta-analysis of applications of the self-reporthabit index to nutrition and physical activity behavior. Annals of behavioral medicine, 42(2), 174-187.Kiene, S. M., Hopwood, S., Lule, H., & Wanyenze, R. K.

(2014). An empirical test of the Theory of Planned Behaviorapllied to the contraceptive use in rural Uganda. Journal of health psychology, 19(12), 1564-1575.McEachan, R. R. C., Conner, M., Taylor, N.

J., & Lawton,R. J. (2011). Prospective prediction of                   health-relatedbehavior: A meta-analysis. HealthPsychology Review, 5(2), 97-144.

Ogden, J. (2015). Time to retire the theory of planned behavior?one of us will have to go! A commentary on Sniehotta,Presseau and Araujo-soares. Healthpsychology review, 9(2), 165-167.


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