Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)

formerly the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)


The original insight of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) was that people do what they intend to do. Intentions result from attitudes towards a behavior, and from what people that an individual cares about want him or her to do. When confidence about being able to perform the behavior was added to the model, TRA became the Theory of Planned Behavior. Factors like personality and ethnic background factors were influential only in their impact on attitudes and social pressure and confidence. An even later version, the Integrated Behavioral Model (IBM) (Fishbein, 2000), went beyond perceptions to add actual environmental barriers and skills and abilities to the model. IBM is not ranked by TheoryPicker, but may help you think about your behavior challenge more broadly.


Martin Fishbein, Issac Ajzen

Seminal references

Fishbein M, Ajzen I. Belief, attitude, intention & behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 1975.

Azjen I, Driver BL. Prediction of leisure participation from behavioral, normative, and control beliefs: an application of the theory of planned behavior. Leisure Science 13:185–204, 1991.

Fishbein M. The role of theory in HIV prevention. AIDS Care 12(3):273-278, 2000.

Fishbein M, Cappella JN. The role of theory in developing effective health communications. Journal of Communication 56:S1-S17, 2006.

Major constructs




Busse P, Fishbein M, Bleakley A, Hennessy M. The Role of Communication with Friends in Sexual Initiation. Communic Res. 2010 Apr 1;37(2):239-255. PubMed PMID: 20613973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2897170.

Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Fishbein M, Jordan A. Using the Integrative Model to explain how exposure to sexual media content influences adolescent sexual behavior. Health Educ Behav. 2011 Oct;38(5):530-40. Epub 2011 May 23. PubMed PMID: 21606378.

Sjoberg S, Kim K, Reicks M. Applying the theory of planned behavior to fruit and vegetable consumption by older adults. J Nutr Elder. 2004;23(4):35-46. PubMed PMID: 15149939.

Baker HJ, Butler LT, Chambers SA, Traill WB, Lobb AE, Herbert G. An RCT study to evaluate a targeted, theory driven healthy eating leaflet. Soc Sci Med. 2010 Dec;71(11):1916-20. Epub 2010 Sep 29. PubMed PMID: 20970233.

Major advantages

Major Criticisms


National Cancer Institute, Theory at a Glance (see pages 16-18)

University of Twente, Theory of Planned Behavior