Ozone air pollution and stage-of-change status for alternative transportation usage among college students
Ott, Lynn M.
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Non-attainment of EPA standards for ozone (O3) is the most common air pollution problem facing large cities in the U.S. In 1999, approximately 184.5 million U.S. residents lived in areas with unhealthful O3 levels. Minority and disadvantaged populations are disproportionately represented in these areas. Motor vehicle exhaust is responsible for 49% of emissions of O3's precursor, NOx. Reduction of auto emissions will be necessary in order to attain healthful O3 levels. Part of the solution will involve increased usage of more sustainable transportation sources. This study used a self-report survey, developed by the researcher, which utilized Prochaska's Stage of Change Theory, and the Health Belief Model, to assess stage-of-change status, barriers, and incentives for usage of walking, bicycling, carpooling, and public transit for commuting purposes, and to determine health beliefs regarding ozone air pollution. The survey was administered to 103 male and 99 female college students between the ages of 18 to 65. Chi-square analysis revealed the majority of participants were in the precontemplaton stage for usage of each alternative transportation method with no differences by the selected demographics. Carpooling had the highest percent of participants in the advanced stages of change (planning, action and maintenance). Ordinal regression analysis revealed that low income, the incentive of saving money on transportation costs, and the belief that air pollution will affect future health were significant predictors of advanced stage of change status.