Behavioral Drivers of Food Waste Reduction among Rural Households: Application of Environmental Psychology

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, School of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran



Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the behavioral drivers of food waste
reduction among rural households. The conceptual basis of this study was the theory of planned
behavior (TPB), which aims to explain the relationship between intention, attitude, subjective
norms, and perceived behavioral control of villagers. This study extends the TPB by including
new constructs such as environmental concerns, guilt, and habit.
Material and Methods: The present study was conducted through a survey. To collect data, a
researcher-made questionnaire inspired by other studies was designed and validated. In order
to ensure the validity of the questionnaire, the initial version was first reviewed by a team of
academic experts in the field of environmental behaviors to check its content validity. Then,
based on the experts' feedback, the constructs and items of each were reviewed again. By
conducting a pre-test study outside the research population, the reliability of the research tool
was evaluated. For this purpose, a pilot study was conducted among 30 villagers of Piranshahr.
In order to estimate the reliability of the research tool, Cronbach's alpha coefficients were
calculated. Cronbach's alpha values for the latent constructs/variables were in the range of 0.70
to 0.90, which were higher than the recommended threshold value of 0.70. In addition, to
measure the reflective model, standard factor loading values, t-value, convergent validity, and
divergent (discriminant) validity were evaluated. Composite reliability (CR) was used to
estimate the reliability and evaluate the internal consistency of the studied constructs in the final
stages of the research. The results of the final reliability and validity assessment revealed that
all observed values for these criteria are within the acceptable ranges. The target population of
the study consisted of all the villagers of Naghadeh County with a wide variety of social
backgrounds (N=36764). The sample size was determined using the sampling table of Krejcie
and Morgan. The table’s recommended sample size was 384 cases. The sampling method of
the present study was stratified random with proportional assignment. For this purpose, the
county was first divided into two parts: central and Mohammadyar and finally cases were
randomly selected from the village. Data were collected through a survey and analyzed using
structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM).
Results and Discussion: The results showed that subjective norms, attitude, and perceived
behavioral control significantly affected the intention to reduce food waste. Similarly, the two
drivers of guilt and environmental concern also positively influenced intention. In addition, the
direct effects of the two variables of intention and habit on waste reduction behavior were
statistically significant.
Conclusion: Since sustained intrinsic motivation or strong intentions are required to maintain
long-term behavior, therefore, it is recommended that policies and programs on the
development and evaluation of behavioral interventions aimed at promoting food waste
reduction behavior be broadly based on strengthening the intention of the villagers. If there are
favorable conditions and incentives, people will be more willing to reduce food waste. The
findings of this study have useful insights for government agencies, policymakers, health and
treatment centers, agricultural extension and education agents, and academics who are
interested in developing strategies to reduce food waste.


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