Sustainable Deaths: Investigating Young Adults' Intentions to Communicate and Document Their Green Funeral Plans

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University of Alabama Libraries

The severe lack of end-of-life (EOL) planning in the United States (US) deserves scholarly attention. This dissertation investigated communication, psychosocial, and environmental factors that predict young adults’ intentions to communicate and document their green funeral service plans. The study adapted the converged theory of planned behavior (TPB) and value-belief-norm (VBN) theoretical framework to offer a comprehensive model for understanding EOL planning processes. A sample of US adults (N = 444) completed an online self-report survey about their attitudes toward two green funeral service planning behaviors. Structural equation modeling results found that communication apprehension, neutral attitudes toward death, attitudes, perceived behavioral control, environmental values, connectedness to nature, awareness of ecological consequences of traditional funeral services, moral feelings of responsibility to choose a green funeral service, and personal normative beliefs toward green funerals were significantly related to young adult’s communication and documentation planning intentions. The model significantly predicted 56% of the variance in communication and 50% of the variance in documentation planning intentions. Together, these findings address theoretical and conceptual gaps in understanding EOL planning. The adapted converged TPB-VBN model is an efficient framework for investigating green funeral planning intentions and can guide future research. The results can help scholars who aim to better understand the phenomena around green funeral planning and health communication and policymakers who hope to ride the wave of environmentally friendly sustainable funerary practices to improve public health outcomes.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
End-of-Life Planning, Environmental Health Communication, Green Funerals, Health Communication, SEM, Sustainable Death Planning