Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, Ed.D, Chairperson; Jo Ellen Patterson, Ph.D., Committee Member; Hans Peter Schmitz, Ph.D., Committee Member; Helen Kennedy Wise, Ph.D., Committee Member


meditation, mindfulness, sustainability, sustainable consumption



Climate change, overconsumption, air, and water pollution continue to be pressing issues for society. Given the significant impact of overconsumption, the search for strategies to promote more sustainable behavior has become a topic for investigation. Universities are uniquely positioned to help students work toward sustainable solutions. This research explored the role of mindfulness in university students' sustainable consumption awareness and practice as there are gaps in the literature concerning definitions, constructs, and research regarding mindfulness and sustainable consumption.

To address these disparities, this research used stepwise regression analysis to investigate the extent to which mindfulness and select demographic measures explained variation in sustainable awareness and consumption practices among 809 university students at a university located in the southeastern United States. The 15-item Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale was used together with measures of sustainable consumption awareness and practice. In addition, this study examined the extent to which meditation operated as either a moderating or mediating variable in the relationship between mindfulness and sustainable consumption awareness and practice.

Taken together, results revealed that demographic variables and mindfulness explained more variation in sustainable consumption awareness than in sustainable consumption practices. Although mindfulness was a positive predictor of both, the findings surrounding religion and religiosity were surprising. The most significant positive predictors of sustainable consumption awareness were associated with individuals identifying as atheists or agnostic. Contrary to expected findings, these results cast a new light on the role of religion or lack thereof in sustainable consumption. In addition, undergraduates who did not meditate were less aware of the need for sustainable consumption. Finally, the Sobel test revealed that meditation operated neither as a moderating or mediating factor for sustainable consumption awareness; however, meditation did have a moderating impact between mindfulness and sustainable consumption practice.

The findings offer insight into the attitude-behavior gaps prevalent in sustainable consumption practice, resulting in inaction, further compounding environmental issues. The study prompts a rethinking of the role of institutions of higher education regarding sustainability and the role that organized religion may play in developing the attitudes of undergraduates.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies