Intention, perceived control, and weight loss: an application of the theory of planned behavior

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1985 Sep;49(3):843-51. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.49.3.843.


Success at attempted weight reduction among college women was predicted on the basis of a theory of planned behavior. At the beginning of a 6-week period, participants expressed their attitudes, subjective norms, perceived control, and intentions with respect to losing weight. In addition, the extent to which they had made detailed weight reduction plans was assessed, as were a number of general attitudes and personality factors. In support of the theory, intentions to lose weight were accurately predicted on the basis of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived control; perceived control and intentions were together moderately successful in predicting the amount of weight that participants actually lost over the 6-week period. Actual weight loss was also found to increase with development of a plan and with ego strength, factors that were assumed to increase control over goal attainment. Other factors, such as health locus of control, perceived competence, and action control, were found to be unrelated to weight reduction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology
  • Ego
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Set, Psychology*