Choosing sustainability : the relationship between personal standards and environment responsive behavior
Stuckey, Bridget Denise
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This study investigated Personal Standards as a psychological determinant of Environment Responsive Behavior. This was a quantitative study that used questionnaire data collected from community college students in Northern Illinois. This study was guided by three research questions: What is the relationship between Personal Standards regarding the environment and Environment Responsive Behavior? What is the relationship between utility value, personal affect, and outcome expectancy regarding the environment and Environment Responsive Behavior? Are Environment Responsive Behavior and Personal Standards regarding the environment related to gender, childhood locale, field of study, number of semesters completed in college, age, and ethnicity? The data were analyzed using Pearson and Spearman correlations, one-way ANOVA, t-tests, and multiple regression analysis. The results indicated that there is a significant positive linear relationship between Personal Standards and Environment Responsive Behavior. Of the three Personal Standards subscales, affect, utility value and outcome expectancy, only affect predicted Environment Responsive Behavior. Spearman correlation showed positive and moderate to weak relationships between Personal Standards and Environment Responsive Behavior survey items that involved behaviors such as reducing solid waste production, doing what is right for the environment regardless of cost, limiting personal car use and limiting meat consumption for environmental reasons. Survey items related to civic activities such as signing a petition, participating in demonstrations or membership in environmental organizations were analyzed by point biserial correlation. These items did not show a significant relationship to personal standards. When analyzing demographic data, an independent samples t-test showed a moderate significant gender difference for Environment Responsive Behavior. Females engaged in Environment Responsive Behaviors more frequently than males. There was also a significant gender difference in Personal Standards. Females had higher Personal Standards Regarding the Environment than males. Analysis of variance showed that White non-Hispanic participants displayed a significantly higher Environment Responsive Behavior mean score than African Americans. There was no significant difference between any other ethnic groups. No statistically significant difference was found between any ethnic groups for Personal Standards Regarding the Environment. One-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference in Environment Responsive Behavior by number of semesters completed in college. Students with 0-2 semesters of college showed significantly higher mean scores for Environment Responsive Behavior than students with 5-9 semesters of college. Alternatively, students who completed 5-9 semesters of college showed significantly higher mean scores for Personal Standards than students with 0-2 or 3-4 semesters of college. There was no significant difference in Environment Responsive Behavior or Personal Standards Regarding the Environment by childhood locale, field of study, or age. These findings demonstrate the complex nature of choosing sustainability. These findings also have implications for instruction, as the affective state of learners could influence the success of instruction for sustainability.