The theory of planned behavior used to better understand health eductaion and health promotion students' engagement in environmentally sustainable behaviors and activities
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This study relied on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to identify beliefs that influence environmentally sustainable behaviors and actions of university students' in a Health Education and Health Promotion department at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Students completed an electronic questionnaire that was developed based on qualitative data collected from two focus groups. The data from the focus groups were ranked ordered based upon frequency in which they were stated. In addition to standard TPB constructs, the survey assessed correlations between taking specific university courses or being involved in a group or extracurricular activities related to environmental or public health and participants' attitudes toward engaging in environmentally sustainable behaviors and activities. Results revealed that the strongest correlations among the participants were between normative beliefs and subjective norms in performing the behavior while perceived behavioral control and intention were least likely to be correlated to the intended behaviors. Undergraduate students who took the HED 335 course were more likely to engage in more environmentally sustainable behaviors and activities, while taking the PH 707 graduate course and being involved in a group or extracurricular activities related to the environmental or public health fields did not show the same results. Examination of the associations between specific beliefs and behaviors revealed important implications for designing effective educational interventions related to environmental sustainability.