Applicability of the theory of planned behavior for predicting alcohol use in spanish early adolescents

Olalla Cutrín, Isotta Mac Fadden, Stephanie L. Ayers, Stephen S. Kulis, Jose Antonio Gómez-Fraguela, Flavio F. Marsiglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


According to the theory of planned behavior (TPB), intentions to perform a specific behavior are the result of attitudes, norms, and perceived control, and in turn, intentions and perceived control are the main predictors of the behavior. This study aimed to test the applicability of TPB in predicting alcohol use in normative pre-adolescents. The sample was composed of 755 Spanish adolescents aged 11 to 15 (M = 12.24; SD = 0.56), 47.1% females, from 12 state secondary schools in Spain. The results of path analysis indicate that positive attitudes towards alcohol, favorable norms towards alcohol, and offer vulnerability (perceived control) are significantly positively related to intentions to use alcohol as well as negatively related to actual behavioral control (i.e., actual strategies to avoid alcohol use). In turn, intentions to use and actual control predict higher alcohol frequency and heavy drinking. Significant indirect effects of these antecedents were found on alcohol outcomes through the mediation of intentions and actual control. The findings suggest that the validity and applicability of the TPB in normative pre-adolescents depend on the severity of alcohol use and point to a need to consider negative social influence in decision making processes in early adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8539
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2 2020


  • Adolescence
  • Alcohol use
  • Attitudes
  • Planned behavior
  • Resistance strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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