Social-cognitive conceptualization of students’ pro-environmental behavior in Iranian higher agricultural education system

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University (TMU), Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Technology Development Studies (DTDS), Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), Tehran, Iran


Environmental problems and Chalenges are one of the major concerns of today's society. Often, these chalenges stem from human behavior that can be overcome by changing their attitudes and behaviors and promoting the consequences of these problems. Some of the most important pro-environmental behaviors include energy consumption, water and soil conservation, recycling and the like, with many personal, social and environmental benefits. One of the major goals of universities is to educate students towards environmental issues. In this regard, the role and position of agricultural higher education is of particular importance. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to "analyze the factors affecting pro-environmental behavior as perceived by students in Iran's agricultural higher education system based on Bandura's social-cognitive theory".

Materials and methods:
This study is a descriptive-correlational and causal-relational research. The statistical population of this study was students at state colleges of agriculture in Iran. 129 of them were selected using a random two-stage cluster sampling based on five scientific poles of the country (N = 236973). The research instrument was a questionnaire whose validity was confirmed by a panel of experts in the field of agricultural extension and education and its reliability was determined using the Cronbach's alpha coefficient (0.66≤α≤0.87).

Results and discussion:
The results showed that there is a positive and significant correlation between pro-environmental behavior and other effective variables other than the Students’ level of education. In this regard, intention, self-identity, outcome expectancy, self-regulation, perception of others' behavior and self-efficacy had the highest correlation with pro-environmental behavior. The results of the causal analysis showed that the variables of "perception of others Behavior", "outcome expectancy" and "self-identity" had a significant effect on pro-environmental behavior which is in line with the Bandura's social-cognitive theory, but "intention", "self-efficacy" and "self-regulation" had no significant effect.

Causal analysis results showed the students’ pro-environmenal behavior in the higher agricultural education system is influenced by the perception of others’ behavior and they learn from observation and consequences of others' behavior. Such findings show the importance of social environments. In other words, although individuals may have motivations and behaviors in order to preserve the environment, but this behavior is influenced by their social environment and providing such an environment is considered one of the implications of higher education systems for creating green universities. At the end, based on the findings, some recommendations have been presented.


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