Utility of the Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior for Predicting Chinese Adolescent Smoking

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Applied Behavior Analysis | Health Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


One third of smokers worldwide live in China. Identifying predictors of smoking is important for prevention program development. This study explored whether the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) predict adolescent smoking in China.

Data were obtained from 14,434 middle and high school students (48.6% boys, 51.4% girls) in seven geographically varied cities in China. TRA and TPB were tested by multilevel mediation modeling, and compared by multilevel analyses and likelihood ratio tests. Perceived behavioral control was tested as a main effect in TPB and a moderation effect in TRA.

The mediation effects of smoking intention were supported in both models (p < 0.001). TPB accounted for significantly more variance than TRA (p < 0.001). Perceived behavioral control significantly interacted with attitudes and social norms in TRA (p < 0.001).

Therefore, TRA and TPB are applicable to China to predict adolescent smoking. TPB is superior to TRA for the prediction and TRA can better predict smoking among students with lower than higher perceived behavioral control.

Rights Information

© 2006 Elsevier Ltd.