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IN PURSUIT OF DECREASING CONSUMER ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT: UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSUMER WELL-BEING WITHIN (UN)SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOR FRAMEWORK

thesis
posted on 2024-03-08, 02:00 authored by Assemgul BissenbinaAssemgul Bissenbina

. Consumer behavior in food and fashion is significantly contributing to environmental distress. Psychological distance emerges as a key obstacle preventing consumers from taking action. Environmental issues often appear distant in terms of time, space, social relevance, and uncertainty, making it challenging for consumers to engage with and modify their behaviors accordingly. Conversely, subjective well-being presents itself as a more relatable concept for consumers. Thus, this dissertation, comprising two essays, seeks to explore the significance of subjective well-being within the realm of consumer sustainability in the food and fashion industries. In Study 1, employing structural equation modeling, we initially demonstrate that consumer food waste adversely affects emotional well-being through post-purchase regret (Study 1a). Furthermore, utilizing ordered logit regression, we identify that perceived distance to grocery stores correlates with increased household food waste (Study 1b). In Study 2, through a systematic literature review, we observe a pattern in consumer behavior regarding sustainable and unsustainable clothing consumption and its relationship with emotional subjective well-being (Study 2a). However, due to the limited number of relevant studies and their focus on only one aspect of subjective well-being, further investigation becomes necessary. Consequently, in Study 2b, employing path analysis, we empirically examine the relationship between domains of sustainable clothing consumption behavior and subjective well-being, revealing a positive correlation, particularly in the early stages of the consumption process. To assess whether consumers perceive subjective well-being as closer to them in comparison to environmental concerns when promoting sustainable actions, we conduct an experiment. Our findings, analyzed using t-tests, indicate that the psychological distance of subjective well-being is indeed lower than that of environmental topics (Study 2c). These results underscore the significance of subjective well-being within the context of consumer sustainability and lay the groundwork for alternative communication strategies aimed at promoting sustainable consumer behavior. The implications and limitations of our findings are thoroughly discussed.

History

Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Department

  • Consumer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jiyun Kang

Additional Committee Member 2

Wookjae Heo

Additional Committee Member 3

Shinyong Jung

Additional Committee Member 4

Charles Aaron Lawry

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