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University Students' Behaviors Pertaining to Sustainability: A Structural Equation Model with Sustainability-Related Attributes

The purpose of this study is to construct a structural equation model to examine the links among attitudes, values, and behaviors pertaining to sustainability, participation in outdoor recreation as well as gender and tendency to follow mass media for university students. The data were collected by on-line administration of a survey to 958 students at Middle East Technical University during February-June of 2008. It needs to be stressed that gender emerged as a strong factor explaining sustainability-related attributes. It was reflected that female students having higher tendency to follow media held more favorable attitudes and behaviors toward sustainable life styles, and more ecocentric values. Furthermore, attitudes and values were found to be significant determinants of university students' behaviors pertaining to sustainability. It was also reported that higher tendency to follow media yielded more favorable attitudes, higher levels of ecocentric values, and engagement in outdoor recreational activities such as walking in nature, bird watching, and camping. These results implied that the university campus should be well equipped with the necessary infrastructures that will satisfy the needs and encourage female students as well as male students to motivate them take appreciative outdoor activities. A gender perspective should be integrated into existing mainstream institutions and all programmatic areas or sectors, including education in order to hinder gender inequality. In addition, during the rehabilitation of sustainability issues in higher education institutions, favorable attitudes and values of university students should be regarded as an auxiliary agent.
Elvan Sahin; Hamide Ertepinar; Gaye Teksoz
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