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The Relationship of Eco-friendly Attitudes With Walking and Biking to Work

Bopp, Melissa PhD; Kaczynski, Andrew T. PhD; Wittman, Pamela BS

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September/October 2011 - Volume 17 - Issue 5 - p E9–E17
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e31821138de
Original Articles

Active commuting (AC) to work is an effective strategy for integrating regular physical activity (PA) into daily life routines, but limited research exists on influences of AC among adults. Current trends and interests toward environmental consciousness and sustainable forms of travel could impact transportation-related PA.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between eco-friendly attitudes (EFA) and several variables related to AC.

Design: A cross-sectional study of respondents to an online survey.

Participants: Employed adults, physically able to walk or bicycle.

Main Outcome Measures: The survey included questions about EFA, AC patterns, motivators and barriers for AC, and demographics. Eco-friendly attitudes were measured using a 9-item scale (eg, “I subscribe to ecological publications”). Participants were divided into quartiles on the basis of their EFA summary score (higher score = more ecologically friendly), and t tests and analyses of variance were used to make comparisons across groups on several variables related to AC.

Results: The sample (n = 375) was primarily young to middle-aged adults (mean age 39.4 ± 12.9 years), female (60.7%), and Caucasian (90.3%), with at least a high school education (94.6% with high school diploma or greater). Participants reported actively commuting an average of 2.4 ± 4.5 times per week and driving on average 8.4 ± 3.8 times per week. The mean EFA score was 33.4 ± 12.1 out of 63. Age was negatively related and education was positively related to EFA. Compared with those in the lower 3 quartiles, individuals in the top quartile of EFA scores were more likely to actively commute and less likely to drive and reported more self-efficacy, fewer barriers, and more motivators for AC.

Conclusions: This study provides insight into potential influences on AC and possible strategies for intervention. Future studies should continue to investigate ecological attitudes as a possible moderator of AC behavior. Public health–based interventions to promote AC may use ecology-themed messages for greater reach and impact.

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between eco-friendly attitudes and several variables related to active commuting. It provides insight into potential influences on active commuting and possible strategies for intervention.

Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan (Drs Bopp and Kaczynski and Ms Wittman); and Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park (Dr Bopp).

Correspondence: Melissa Bopp, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, 266 Recreation Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 (

The authors thank Kelsey Lackey, Amanda Roth, and Joshua M. Long for their contribution to this study. In addition, they appreciate the support of the City of Manhattan government, the former bicycle coordinator (Dan Oledhoff), and the Manhattan Bicycle Advisory Board.

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.