Risk Behaviours for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour
Bremner, Dawn N.
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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are completely preventable yet they continue to effect approximately 1% of Canadians (Public Health Agency of Canada [PHAC], 2005). FASD refers to a spectrum of disorders that is the result of prenatal alcohol exposure. Numerous prevention campaigns have been conducted to increase awareness of FASD and to inform women of childbearing age of the consequences of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. However, little research has been done to test whether increased awareness actually aids in prevention. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB; Ajzen & Madden, 1986) has served as the theoretical grounding for prevention of several undesirable health outcomes but this was its first application to the prevention of prenatal alcohol exposure. The TPB examines how a person’s behavior is influenced by attitudes, beliefs about control over behaviour, perceptions of others’ beliefs and intentions. Participants’ behaviour was assessed approximately four weeks after their attitudes, beliefs and perceptions were assessed. In addition, half the participants received information about FASD to see whether increased awareness about the disorder lead to any changes in behaviour. The implications of the results of the research for future prevention campaigns are discussed. This study examines the relationship between awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and prevention of prenatal alcohol exposure.