The role of descriptive norm within the theory of planned behavior in predicting Korean Americans' exercise behavior

Psychol Rep. 2011 Aug;109(1):208-18. doi: 10.2466/06.07.PR0.109.4.208-218.


There are few studies investigating psychosocial mechanisms in Korean Americans' exercise behavior. The present study tested the usefulness of the theory of planned behavior in predicting Korean American's exercise behavior and whether the descriptive norm (i.e., perceptions of what others do) improved the predictive validity of the theory of planned behavior. Using a retrospective design and self-report measures, web-survey responses from 198 Korean-American adults were analyzed using hierarchical regression analyses. The theory of planned behavior constructs accounted for 31% of exercise behavior and 43% of exercise intention. Intention and perceived behavioral control were significant predictors of exercise behavior. Although the descriptive norm did not augment the theory of planned behavior, all original constructs--attitude, injunctive norm (a narrow definition of subjective norm), and perceived behavioral control--statistically significantly predicted leisure-time physical activity intention. Future studies should consider random sampling, prospective design, and objective measures of physical activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian Americans / psychology*
  • Attitude*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Culture*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Social Conformity*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult