Predictors of a young woman's pregnancy decision: application of the theory of planned behavior

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Virginia Tech

The present study evaluated the applicability of the theory of planned behavior (TRP, Ajzen, 1988: Ajzen and Fishbein) to the prediction and understanding of a young woman's intentions to raise or place her child for adoption. During a woman's second and third trimester of pregnancy self-report measures were administered assessing a woman's intentions, attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control about both pregnancy resolution choices (i.e., raising or placing a child for adoption). Participants were 52 Caucasian women (26 who placed; 26 who raised) ranging in age from 15-32 (M =19). In most respects the findings supported the TPB. However, subjective norms did not significantly enter the regression model in predicting behavioral intentions due to the multicollinearity between it and attitudes. Consequently, subjective norms was replaced by its salient measure of normative beliefs in another regression model. This hierarchical regression analyses revealed that attitudes, normative beliefs, perceived behavioral control and age significantly predicted a woman's intention to raise or place her child. A logistic regression revealed that behavioral intention was the single best predictor for the final pregnancy resolution behavior, suggesting that it successfully mediated the influences of all other variables studied. Further analysis revealed that women who placed versus those who raised their children differed on a number of behavioral beliefs, outcome evaluations, normative beliefs, and control beliefs.