Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Martha Neff-Smith


The purpose of this investigation was to develop an instrument to test the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) in a new behavioral domain the health promotive behaviors of geriatric nurse practitioners (GNPs). The two behavioral categories included in the study were health assessment and health teaching, each with its individual index of actions.

A questionnaire was developed to examine the beliefs of a sample of 200 certified geriatric nurse practitioners and to test the relationships of the theoretical model. Names of the subjects were randomly selected from the American Nurses' Association 1989 list of certified GNPs. Ninety-four returned questionnaires were included in the data analyses.

Data analysis included frequency of demographic attributes, correlation, stepwise multiple regression, and factor analysis. Estimation of validity and reliability of the instrument were sufficient to warrant reuse of the instrument.

As a homogeneous group, the geriatric nurse practitioners shared strong personal and social beliefs about carrying out health promotive behaviors with older clients. They perceived that important others in the organization think the GNP should carry out health assessment and health teaching with clients.

The theory was partially supported in the investigation. Intention was a determinant of behavior in both categories. Attitude was a more significant predictor of intent to carry out behavior than were the perceived social pressures. Motivation to comply with important others was not a determinant of the subjective norm.

Results from this study hold implications for both nurse educators, clinicians and health care administrators. In a period when reimbursement for nurse practitioners and cost containment have become realities in the health care system, a GNP who carries out health promotive behaviors with the ever increasing number of elderly clients will be a desirable asset in any health care system.


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