Can social psychological models be used to promote bicycle helmet use among teenagers? A comparison of the Health Belief Model, Theory of Planned Behavior and the Locus of Control

Timo Lajunen (Corresponding Author), Mikko Räsänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Problem: The bicycle helmet use rate is still low among teenagers despite the cumulating evidence that bicycle helmets can prevent cyclists from serious injuries and death. The objective of this study was to investigate the usefulness of the Health Belief Model (HBM; Health Education Monographs, 2 (1974) (1), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, I. (1988). Attitudes, personality and behavior. Open University Press, Milton Keynes) and Locus of Control model (LC; Psychological Monographs, (1966) (80) in understanding the intention to use bicycle helmet use among bicycle helmet owners. Method: Data were collected at two schools in Helsinki, Finland. Students (N=965) completed a questionnaire including three social psychological models applied to helmet use. Models were compared by structural equation modeling techniques. Summary: Results showed that the TPB and LC model fitted the data well, whereas fit of the HBM model was lower than the fit of TPB and LC models. All components of TPB and external LC orientation were significantly related to the intention to use a helmet. TPB together with LC model provide a promising theoretical framework for helmet use promotion campaigns. Practical suggestions for future bicycle helmet campaigns were provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Bicycle helmet
  • Teenagers
  • Theory of planned behavior
  • Health belief model
  • Locus of control

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