Perceived behavioral control in reasoned action theory: A dual-aspect interpretation

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102 Scopus citations


The inclusion of perceptions of control over behavioral performance has importantly advanced the ability of reasoned action theory to explain behavioral intentions and predict behavior. In consequence, the theory has usefulness as a tool for developing behavior change interventions. Despite the theoretical and practical importance of a perceived behavioral control construct, there remains ambiguity regarding the precise meaning and measurement of items. A central issue is that items used to measure perceived behavioral control often load on two factors, one composed of confidence-framed items and the other of control-framed items. According to reasoned action theory, these two factors represent capacity and autonomy aspects of perceived behavioral control. In this article I review the usefulness of the current dual-aspect conceptualization of perceived behavioral control, present illustrative perceived capacity and autonomy data, and discuss new areas of inquiry that can further advance the conceptualization of perceived behavioral control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-117
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Marco Yzer is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota and an adjunct associate professor in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. His research focuses on motivational processes that explain how mass-mediated and interpersonal communication facilitate or inhibit health behavior. His work has appeared in communication, psychology, and public health journals and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health.


  • perceived autonomy
  • perceived behavioral control
  • perceived capacity
  • reasoned action theory


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