The Theory of Reasoned Action as a Model of Children's Health Behavior1


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    This research was supported by Grant #DA07047 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Diane M. Morrison, School of Social Work, University of Washington, 4101 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105-6299. E-mail:


This research examined the applicability of the theory of reasoned action to school-age children. Using structural equation modeling, we longitudinally modeled children's attitudes, norms, intentions, and behavior with regard to drinking alcohol. Respondents were 1,061 children attending public schools in the northwestern United States. Attitude, norms, and intentions (measured when the children were in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades) were used to predict alcohol use 1 year later. Two modifications of the model improved the overall fit at each grade level: separating attitude into 2 dimensions (positive and negative), and adding a path from social norm to behavior. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.