The theory of planned behavior to predict protective behavioral intentions against PM2.5 in parents of young children from urban and rural Beijing, China

Shumei Liu, Yi Te Chiang, Chie Chien Tseng, Eric Ng, Gwo Liang Yeh, Wei Ta Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Smog and air pollution have fast become significant environmental problems and are attributed to rapid global industrialization and urbanization. Emissions of fine particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) increase smog and air pollution, with strong impacts on human health. Children are particularly vulnerable. While increasing studies are being conducted on the behaviors leading to PM2.5 toxicity from the perspective of environmental toxicants, there is a lack of research on factors influencing anti-PM2.5 behavioral intentions. Thus, this study aims to narrow this gap by adapting the theory of planned behavior framework to investigate the effects of attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control on protective behavioral intentions against PM2.5. In total, 1277 online questionnaires were collected from parents of young children living in urban and rural areas of Beijing, and the data was analyzed using correlation, regression, and path analyses. Results revealed that there were significant differences between parents from urban and rural areas in terms of attitude (t = 4.727 > 1.96, p < 0.001), subjective norms (t = 5.529 > 1.96, p < 0.001), perceived behavioral control (t = 6.155 > 1.96, p < 0.001), and anti-PM2.5 behavioral intentions (t = 6.838 > 1.96, p < 0.001). Path analysis revealed that parents from urban and rural areas had different behavioral intention paths. For urban parents, the findings indicated that subjective norms (β = 0.73, t = 21.84 > 3.29) and perceived behavioral control (γ = 0.22, t = 6.12 > 3.29) had direct impacts on anti-PM2.5 behavioral intentions. In contrast, the attitudes (γ = 0.39, t = 3.74 > 3.29) and subjective norms (β = 0.60, t = 8.55 > 3.29) of rural parents were found to directly influence anti-PM2.5 behavioral intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2215
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 10



  • Anti-PM2.5 behavioral intention
  • Rural and urban areas
  • Theory of planned behavior
  • Young children’s parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this