Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior: Assessing Mentorship in Student Retention




Stern, Mark

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Most analyses examining student success rates for passing college courses and completing a degree program emphasize traditional factors such as High School Class Rank and standardized test scores. No theory of planned behavior for degree attainment has been proposed and tested. The Theory of Planned Behavior (1991) was constructed to describe and predict the relative strength of psycho-social factors contributing to achieving planned goals. It asserts that attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and intentions lead to the completion of a behavior or goal. The TPB is highly universal and appropriate to assess college degree attainment behaviors. Mentorship has been shown to be an influential factor of a person’s persistence in activities. As such, mentorship was also assessed in combination with TPB. Three-hundred Thirty-Nine (N = 339), primarily freshmen, participated on this online study for Introduction to Psychology course credit. Study 1 of the survey assessed participant’s inward assessment of behaviors in college per Ajzen’s Theory. Study 2 aimed to assess a participant’s outward judgment of others based on the same framework. Results from study 1 showed that Ajzen’s Theory was predictive of college degree attainment and mentorship serves as a catalyst for traditional Ajzen factors. Study 2 showed that participants’ perceptions differed based on a hypothetical student’s observed level of Ajzen factors and mentorship. Ajzen’s TPB seems to be appropriate for predicting college degree attainment behaviors. While mentorship serves as a catalyst for these behaviors, it is not a required aspect for successful completion of a college degree.



retention, Ajzen, TPB, graduation, college degree attainment, mentorship, psycho-social factors, Honors College


Stern, M. J. (2016). Ajzen's theory of planned behavior: Assessing mentorship in student retention (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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