Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Advisor(s)

Chris Colocousis

Joseph Spear

Keo Cavalcanti

Abstract

This present study examines the relationships between environmental risk perceptions and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors within the theory of the risk society. This quantitative study was conducted online, with a sample size of 218 undergraduate college students from James Madison University. Environmental risks were measured at the societal and individual levels, as well as within five separate risk categories. As expected, I found positive relationships between these risks and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors, however the relationships between individual and societal risk perceptions were different than I anticipated. Where I expected individual risk perceptions to drive both pro-environmental behaviors and attitudes, societal risk perceptions actually held a more positive relationship with pro- environmental attitudes. Pro-environmental attitudes appear to partially moderate the relationship between risk perceptions and pro-environmental behaviors, while risk perceptions also partially moderate the relationship between attitudes and behaviors. These results are consistent with previous studies, which suggests that college students are engaged with the risk society, and their future involvement may influence societal practices on recognizing and handling our environmental risks.

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