245306 Environmental practices among a diverse population in an urban university

Monday, October 31, 2011

Marian Levy, DrPH, RD , School of Public Health, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Marla B. Royne, PhD , Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
John Hochstein, PhD , Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Promoting eco-responsibility is a public health goal. This research assessed demographic differences in environmental practices to better target demographic groups for support in adopting eco-friendly behaviors. Data were collected at an urban university's environmental awareness event. A total of 1013 surveys were completed. Respondents were 62% female and 38% male, while 45.7% were Caucasian, 39% African American, 9.3% Asian, and 3.2% Hispanic. Average age was 28. We adapted the Harvard Sustainability Pledge and created indices for five types of self-reported environmental behaviors: Energy Conservation, Responsible Food Consumption, Water Conservation, Recycling/Waste Reduction, and Other Activities. Because of the potential correlation among these activities, Multivariate Analysis of Variance was conducted with sex (categorical variable), ethnicity (categorical variable) and age (a continuous variable) as the independent variables and the five indices as the dependent variables. Wilk's Lambda statistics indicated a significant effect for the (sex)x(ethnicity) interaction (F=1.75, p = .02), as well as for age (F=26.37, p = .00), sex (F=4.947, p = .00), and ethnicity (F=2.7, p = .00). Univariate tests for the interaction indicated that male Asians engaged in significantly more energy conservation and other activities than all of the other groups. Caucasian females engaged in significantly more recycling activities than African American females, and male African Americans engaged in significantly more food activities than Caucasian males. The main effects found that older respondents had more engagement in all five eco-friendly activities, while females were significantly more likely than males to engage in food, recycling and other activities. Asians were significantly more likely than African-Americans and Caucasians to engage in food and recycling activities. Interestingly, there were no significant activity differences between African Americans and Caucasians. These findings support targeted efforts to promote environmental practices.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify eco-friendly activities practiced by a variety of ethnic groups

Keywords: Sustainability, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the design and data collection for the study described.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.