Application of the theory of planned behavior to predict smoking intentions: cross-cultural comparison of Kenyan and American young adults

Health Educ Res. 2021 Mar 23;36(1):140-150. doi: 10.1093/her/cyaa041.


Despite well-established research on the applications of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) in the American culture, TPB has not been fully tested in the Kenyan culture. This study compared the applications of TPB in predicting smoking intentions (i.e., future and weekend smoking intentions) of Kenyan and American young adults. Data were collected from 252 Kenyans and 227 Americans. The Kenyan participants consisted of 41.7% females with a mean age of 25 years (SD = 4.81). The American participants (49.3% females) had an average age of 19 years (SD = 1.30). Multi-group path analysis was performed to test the equivalence of a TPB-based mediation model in Kenyans and Americans. Significant differences of TPB application were detected. In the American model, smoking consequence beliefs were indirectly associated with smoking intentions through attitudes whereas neither direct nor indirect effects of smoking consequence beliefs were detected in the Kenyan model. Instead, normative beliefs indirectly associated with future and weekend smoking intentions through attitudes and subjective norms in the Kenyan model. Despite some overlapping paths, there were cultural variations on specific associations among TPB constructs between Kenyans and Americans. Cultural adaptations may be needed when applying TPB in the Kenyan cultural context.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Psychological Theory
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult