An application of a revised theory of planned behavior: Predicting the intention to use personal care products without endocrine disrupting chemicals

Anne Holst & Julie Maria Iversen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this study was to test the overall efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behavior in the context of the intention to use personal care products without endocrine disrupting chemicals in Denmark and Germany. Moreover, we explored the relevance of including one more construct to its original framework; namely, self-identity, as we were intrigued by the literary dispute on the specific role of this measure within the Theory of Planned Behavior framework. The original framework constitutes five constructs in total, of which the construct of intention is essential to the model. Hence, in order to explore the similarities and differences in the motivational drivers encapsulated within the intention construct, we examined the predictor variables of attitude towards behavior, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and the added measure of self-identity. To obtain this objective, we adopted a mixed method approach; specifically, we used the qualitative means of ‘expert’ interviews, as well as the quantitative approach of online surveys to gather data for our subsequent correlation and regression analyses. Overall, we found empirical support for the efficiency of a revised version of the Theory of Planned Behavior in both countries; in addition, there were only marginal differences between the two countries involved. The Danes and Germans who were familiar with endocrine disrupters had a favorable attitude and intention to use personal care products without these harmful agents. However, the explained variance in intention was only significantly predicted by the construct of attitude towards behavior and the added measure of self-identity, whereas the two constructs of subjective norm and perceived behavioral control did not contribute significantly in either country. Yet, the finding that the measure of self-identity in fact contributed independently was very interesting, as this lends support to those who advocate extending the Theory of Planned Behavior with the self-identity construct. We support the inclusion of self-identity to the framework, but recommend that future researchers strive to develop a basic theoretical structure of the self-identity construct that aligns with the original predictor variables of intention. Further, we believe that the findings of this study are supportive of those stakeholders in favor of banning endocrine disrupting chemicals from personal care products. However, the dearth of knowledge about this topic in Germany presents a hurdle that must be cleared before any significant changes in the personal care product industry catering Germany can be achieved.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages121