Deutsch: Geplantes Verhalten / Español: Comportamiento Planificado / Português: Comportamento Planejado / Français: Comportement Planifié / Italian: Comportamento Pianificato

Planned Behavior (also known as Planned Behaviour) is a psychological theory that attempts to explain human behavior in terms of intention and planning. The theory posits that behavior is driven by behavioral intentions where these intentions are influenced by three factors: attitude towards the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control.


The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) was developed by Icek Ajzen in 1985 as an extension of the Theory of Reasoned Action. The TPB adds the concept of perceived behavioral control to the original theory, acknowledging that an individual's perception of their ability to perform a given behavior influences their intentions and actions.

  • Attitude Toward the Behavior: This refers to the degree to which a person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behavior in question. It encompasses beliefs about the outcomes of the behavior and the evaluations of these outcomes.
  • Subjective Norms: These are the perceived social pressures to perform or not perform the behavior. They include the beliefs about whether important people in the person’s life approve or disapprove of the behavior.
  • Perceived Behavioral Control: This refers to the perceived ease or difficulty of performing the behavior and is assumed to reflect past experiences as well as anticipated obstacles.

The TPB suggests that if a person perceives a positive attitude towards the behavior, believes that significant others think they should perform the behavior, and feels capable of performing it, then they will have a strong intention to do so. This intention is the most immediate determinant of behavior.

Application Areas

Planned Behavior is utilized in various domains within psychology and beyond:

  1. Health Psychology: Understanding patient behaviors such as smoking cessation, exercise, and dietary habits.
  2. Environmental Psychology: Predicting behaviors related to recycling, conservation, and sustainable living.
  3. Educational Psychology: Influencing student behaviors in terms of studying, attending classes, and participating in educational activities.
  4. Organizational Psychology: Analyzing employee behaviors regarding adherence to workplace policies, job performance, and organizational commitment.
  5. Social Psychology: Exploring behaviors in social contexts, including voting, volunteering, and social interactions.

Well-Known Examples

  • Health Interventions: TPB has been used to design interventions aimed at increasing physical activity among sedentary individuals by targeting their attitudes, norms, and control perceptions.
  • Recycling Programs: Municipalities use TPB principles to encourage recycling by altering public attitudes, demonstrating community norms, and reducing perceived barriers to recycling.
  • Educational Campaigns: Schools employ TPB to promote better study habits and reduce absenteeism by addressing students' beliefs about the importance of education and their ability to succeed.

Treatment and Risks

While the Theory of Planned Behavior is robust in predicting and understanding behaviors, it is not without challenges:

  • Overemphasis on Rationality: The TPB assumes that behavior is the result of rational planning, which may not always be the case, especially in spontaneous or emotional decisions.
  • Measurement Issues: Accurately measuring attitudes, norms, and perceived control can be difficult, and self-reporting may lead to biases.
  • Dynamic Nature of Behavior: The TPB does not fully account for changes over time in intentions or the influence of new information and experiences.

Similar Terms

  • Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA): The precursor to TPB, focusing on attitudes and subjective norms but lacking the perceived behavioral control aspect.
  • Self-Efficacy: A concept introduced by Bandura that overlaps with perceived behavioral control, referring to one’s belief in their ability to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments.
  • Behavioral Intentions: A central concept in both TPB and TRA, referring to an individual's readiness to perform a given behavior.

Articles with 'Planned Behavior' in the title

  • Theory of planned behavior: Theory of planned behavior (TPB) is a theory to explain how intentions predict behaviors. The Theory of Planned Behavior) is a theoretical model used in social psychology that explains how people's attitudes, beliefs, and intentions . . .


The Theory of Planned Behavior provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the factors that influence intentional behavior. By considering attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, it offers valuable insights into why people engage in certain behaviors and how these can be influenced.