In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Reasoned Action Frameworks

  • Introduction
  • Controversies and Innovations

Communication Reasoned Action Frameworks
Marco Yzer, Brian Southwell
  • LAST REVIEWED: 23 February 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0029


Reasoned action frameworks, which include the Theory of Reasoned Action and its extensions, the widely used Theory of Planned Behavior and the more recent Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction, describe that intention to perform a behavior follows reasonably (but not necessarily rationally) from specific beliefs that people hold about the behavior and that people act on their intentions when they have the required skills and when situational factors do not impede behavioral performance. Reasoned action research has two broad foci. A first seeks to advance theoretical understanding of human social behavior as based on expectancy beliefs about consequences of behavioral performance. A second applies reasoned action research to development or evaluation of interventions that seek to modify a specific behavior in a particular population. The relevance of the reasoned action approach for communication scholars lies in its direct applicability to a wide range of important communication questions, including the explanation of communication as a socially relevant behavior and intra-individual processes to explain how exposure to information leads to behavior change. Although reasoned action propositions embed belief-based processes in a multilevel system of influence, the individual is nonetheless the primary level of analysis. The range of citations included in this bibliography addresses the decades-long time frame during which scholars have explicitly employed core reasoned action concepts. Beyond the introductory works, the examples presented here are illustrative rather than exhaustive, by necessity, as few other behavioral theories have generated more citations in communication research.


The five subsections included here describe the origins and development of reasoned action propositions about behavioral prediction and change. The publications selected for Foundational Works illustratively describe the historical context that was the basis for the later development of reasoned action frameworks. Publications included in Introductory Works highlight the development of the core ideas, whereas publications in the other three sections introduce the formal theoretical propositions; Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior, and Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction.

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