Testing a conceptual framework of responsible environmental behavior

Stuart P. Cottrell, Alan R. Graefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Maryland boat owners (N = 291) in the Chesapeake Bay region were surveyed to examine predictors of general responsible environmental behavior (GREB), representing pro-environmental action on a general level, and specific responsible environmental behavior (SREB), indicated by the percentage of raw sewage boaters discharged from recreational vessels in a sewage pumpout station (SPS). A conceptual framework of responsible environmental behavior, adapted from prior environmental education research, was used as a guide for this investigation. Nineteen independent variables categorized as sociodemographic variables, boating background variables, general environmental variables, specific-issue variables, and situational factors to SPS usage constituted the indicators hypothesized to predict behavior. A stepwise multiple regression analysis yielded 8 predictors of SREB (percentage of waste pumped in a pumpout station) that explained 46% of the total variance. Surprisingly, 3 background variables, including education (EDUC), boat length (BOATL), and years of boating experience (YBEXP), were predictors of specific behavior. Environmental concern (CONCERN), representing the pool of general environmental variables, was a moderate predictor. As expected, the specific-issue category of variables, including knowledge of water pollution issues (KWPI), knowledge of dumping in bay regulations (KDBAYR), knowledge of dumping offshore regulations (KDOFFR), and awareness of the consequences of raw sewage on water quality (AWARE) contributed most to the variance explained (R2 = .262) in the percentage of waste pumped in an SPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Environmental Science(all)


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