The paper reports a prospective longitudinal comparison of the Health Belief Model (Rosenstock, 1966) and the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1985) in which the ability of the models to predict and understand the factors determining use of protective helmets among 162 schoolboy cyclists was examined by path analysis. The TPB emerged with greater economy and less redundancy than the HEM. A second path analysis examined whether intention, which is not included among the original components of the HEM, might mediate the links between the predictor variables and behaviour, and this proved to be correct. Lastly, the effects of prior behaviour were examined and found to have a significant effect on helmet use in both models. It was concluded that the TPB had greater predictive utility than the HEM. The implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are offered
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