Predicting bicycle helmet wearing intentions and behavior among adolescents

J Safety Res. 2006;37(5):425-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2006.08.001. Epub 2006 Nov 22.


Introduction: Cycling accidents in Australia, especially those resulting in head injuries, are a substantive cause of death and disability; but despite legislation and evidence that helmets reduce the risk of head injury, few adolescents wear them.

Method: This study employed a revised version of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; [Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211]) to investigate the determinants of helmet use among a sample of adolescents. Participants in the initial data collection were 294 high school students in Year 8 and Year 11, with 266 completing a follow-up questionnaire measuring behavior over the previous two weeks.

Results: Social norms, perceptions of control, and past behavior significantly predicted intentions to use helmets and perceptions of control and past behavior predicted actual helmet use.

Conclusions: Strengthening the routine of helmet use and building young people's confidence that they can overcome any perceived barriers to helmet use will improve adherence to helmet wearing behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Attitude
  • Australia
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis