How well do the theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behaviour predict intentions and attendance at screening programmes? A meta-analysis

Psychol Health. 2008;23(7):745-65. doi: 10.1080/08870440701544437.


Meta-analysis was used to quantify how well the Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behaviour have predicted intentions to attend screening programmes and actual attendance behaviour. Systematic literature searches identified 33 studies that were included in the review. Across the studies as a whole, attitudes had a large-sized relationship with intention, while subjective norms and perceived behavioural control (PBC) possessed medium-sized relationships with intention. Intention had a medium-sized relationship with attendance, whereas the PBC-attendance relationship was small sized. Due to heterogeneity in results between studies, moderator analyses were conducted. The moderator variables were (a) type of screening test, (b) location of recruitment, (c) screening cost and (d) invitation to screen. All moderators affected theory of planned behaviour relationships. Suggestions for future research emerging from these results include targeting attitudes to promote intention to screen, a greater use of implementation intentions in screening information and examining the credibility of different screening providers.

Keywords: Screening attendance; cervical; intention; mammography; theory of planned behaviour; theory of reasoned action.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychological Theory*