Road traffic injuries are public health challenges with heavy economic and social burdens. Road traffic injuries are common in developing countries and occur disproportionately with adolescents. This study aimed to elicit beliefs about traffic behaviors based on the theory of planned behavior among male high school students in Hamadan, Iran. We used a constructivist-interpretive qualitative design with directional content analysis. Interviews were conducted with 19 adolescent males in Hamadan, Iran. Analysis revealed that theory of planned behavior fit well to explain how perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs influenced traffic behaviors. Perceived subjective norms in the forms of parental encouragement, traffic rules and policies, and media advertising influenced the pursuit of safe traffic behaviors. Control belief factors that impeded safe behaviors included aggressive and/or drunk driving and bad road conditions, distance to bridge crossings, and improper seat belt position. Our results provided a deeper understanding of attitudes, experiences, and intentions that precede adolescents’ traffic behaviors. Understanding precursors to behaviors is necessary for effective intervention. Further exploration of factors that lead youth to engage in unsafe behaviors despite education, knowledge, and presence of influential people that promote safe traffic behaviors is needed.


adolescent, traffic behaviors, qualitative content analysis, health promotion, theory of planned behavior

Author Bio(s)

Vahid Ranaei (http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7975-4806) is a Ph.D. student at Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences. His research areas include traffic safety, theory of planned behavior and adolescents.

Dr. Alireza Shahab Jahanlou (http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4850-9968) is an Associate Professor of Health Education in the Department of Health Promotion and Education & Cardiovascular Research Center. He has expertise in quality of life, health literacy, health promotion and health education.

Dr. Laleh Hassani (http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8446-0992) is an Associate Professor of Health Education in the Department of Health Promotion and Education Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences. Her research areas include traffic injuries, road safety, intention, and health belief model.

Dr. Ghodratollah Roshanaei (http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3547-9125) is an Associate professor at Hamadan University of Medical Sciences. He has contributed to projects in a wide variety of health promotion and health education as biometric professional.

Dr. Kristin Haglund (http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2786-5499) is a Professor at College of Nursing, Marquette University. She is a community engaged researcher with expertise in health promotion and qualitative research.

Dr. Jagnoor Jagnoor (http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5276-9095) is a post doc fellow in University of Sydney with more than 110 publications and is very interested in qualitative research.

Dr. Forouzan Rezapur-Shahkolai (http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5049-1109) is an Associate Professor at Hamadan University of Medical Sciences. Her research areas include road traffic injuries, injury preservation, traffic accidents and child safety promotion.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Health Promotion and Education & Cardiovascular Research Center, Hormozgan, Iran, jahanlu@gmail.com.


We would like to thank Dr. Santhani Selveindran for her valuable comments to improve the paper. The present study has been approved and financially supported by Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences. (Project Number: 980457). We appreciate all the students participating in this project, as well as all those who helped us in schools and traffic police.

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