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To examine attitudes and beliefs associated with changes in the intention to use benzodiazepines during the six-month period after first benzodiazepine use.Population-based 6-month follow-up with 3 measurement points (baseline, 2 weeks after inclusion, 6 months after inclusion).Starting or initial benzodiazepine users were included during a period of 4 months from November 1994 in the only pharmacy of a Dutch community of 13,500 people.Variables proposed by the Model of Planned Behaviour and the Health Belief Model. Drug exposure data from automated pharmacy records.At baseline, the intention to use benzodiazepines was primarily predicted by the perceived norm of the general practitioner regarding benzodiazepine use, and by the participants' own attitudes. After fourteen days, the determinants of change in the intention to use benzodiazepines were the initially perceived norm of the general practitioner and the change in the severity of participants' illnesses. After six months, the change in the severity of the illness and the perceived health benefits of benzodiazepines at the time of inclusion were the main determinants of the change in the intention to use benzodiazepines between the second and third measurement point. The intention to use benzodiazepines showed a decrease during follow-up. The three intention measures were significant predictors of actual benzodiazepine use during the year following baseline assessment.The study sheds light on interesting determinants of decrease or increase in the intention to use during the six-month period after first benzodiazepine use.