Examining the psychometric characteristics of an instrument to measure the impact of the climate on health behavior: A pilot study based on the Behavioral Ecological Model

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McDaniel, Justin Tyler
Behavior; Climate; Health; Psychometric
thesis / dissertation description
Background: Given that anthropogenic climate change has been suspected in the increased distribution of infectious diseases, cardiovascular mortality, and malnutrition, the adoption of climate change mitigation and adaptation behavior (MAB) is paramount. College students in the USA have not given evidence of adherence to MAB. Because (a) fossil-fuel emissions in the USA exceed that which is observed in many other countries and (b) college students have the potential to influence climate policy/research in the future, an understanding of the factors that contribute to or prohibit the uptake of the these behaviors among this population is needed. Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to (a) test the psychometric characteristics of an instrument designed based on the Behavioral Ecological Model to measure factors that influence the uptake of MAB and (b) examine tentative differences between (based on demographic factors) and relationships among all of the latent constructs examined in the psychometric testing phase of the study. Methods: A convenience sample of students from a midwestern university (n = 509) participated in the study by completing a web-based survey. Partial Least Squares Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted in order to examine the psychometric characteristics of the instrument. Kruskal-Wallis H tests and Mann-Whitney U tests were utilized in order to examine differences, based on demographic factors, on the latent constructs created in the CFA. Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) was utilized in order to test a preliminary structural model (based on the BEM) of factors that predict the uptake of MAB. Results: The results of the PLS CFA showed that the instrument was valid and reliable. Differences on the latent constructs in the model differed by demographic factors and the structural model showed that race, descriptive social norms, perceived governmental control, and cultural worldviews predicted the uptake of MAB. Conclusion: Interventions on college campuses informed by the BEM are needed in order to stimulate greater adherence to MAB.