An Examination of the Individual-Difference Approach to the Role of Norms in the Theory of Reasoned Action1


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    The authors thank Jeremy Davey and Kerry Ann Armstrong for their assistance in obtaining volunteers for this study.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Katherine M. White, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4034, Australia. E-mail:


The relationship between subjective norm and behavioral intentions is the weakest link of the theory of reasoned action. Numerous approaches have addressed this issue, including the assertion that the weak contribution is a result of a small number of individuals who are under normative control. The present research examines this individual-difference approach in the domain of health behaviors. Respondents were 287 students who rated their intentions, attitudes, and subjective norms in relation to 32 health behaviors and 5 substance-use behaviors. Regression analyses, between subjects and within subjects, demonstrated that both behaviors and people can be under attitudinal or normative control. Support for an individual-difference approach was less conclusive when findings were examined separately for specific health behaviors.