Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Mary Ann Littrell

Second Advisor

Linda Niehm


The purpose of this study was to understand and predict young consumers' purchase behaviors related to fair trade products. Based on the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), causal relationships among personal values, beliefs, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and purchase intentions associated with fair trade products were examined. Data were collected via Web-based surveys from a random sample of female college students at a large Midwestern U.S. university. Of 9,593 female older echo boomer students invited through e-mail to participate in the Web-based survey, 1,048 responses were returned for an overall response rate of 11%. Eight hundred and thirty-five complete surveys were used for the statistical analysis.;Two phases of data analysis were conducted: preliminary analysis and model testing. First, preliminary analysis of research data consisted of descriptive analysis, principal components analysis, internal reliability assessment of research variables using Cronbach's alpha coefficients, and correlation analysis. Second, model testing was conducted through two steps: existing model testing and alternative model testing. Model testing was performed through maximum-likelihood estimation procedures using AMOS 7.0. In the first step, hypotheses were tested based on results for the fully recursive model. The second step included re-specification and validation of an alternative model using a cross-validation technique. Multi-group invariance was tested for the alternative model using multi-sample path analysis.;Findings of the present study revealed that consumers' personal values (i.e., universalism), past purchase behavior related to fair trade non-food products, beliefs about the fair trade non-food products and business mission, attitudes toward fair trade purchases, and social pressures to buy fair trade non-food products were all important factors in predicting young consumers' willingness to purchase fair trade non-food products. First, the overall findings confirmed elements of the theory of planned behavior. Belief structures, such as behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs, were found to be determinants of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control related to non-food fair trade purchases. It was also found that attitudes and subjective norms were important predictors of behavioral intentions related to the purchase of fair trade non-food products. However, there was no significant relationship between perceived behavioral control and the intention to purchase fair trade products, suggesting that purchasing fair trade products is largely under volitional control. Second, consumers' previous experiences of shopping for fair trade products were critical determinants of the formation of beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions related to fair trade purchases for non-food products. Third, consumers' beliefs about the fair trade mission were found to be an important predictor of attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and the intention to buy fair trade non-food products.;The present research provides useful insights into fair trade businesses targeting young consumers and also provides contributions to the academic literature. Fair trade businesses will benefit from knowledge of young consumers' beliefs, attitudes, and purchase intention for fair trade non-food products. Theoretical contributions include an understanding of the significant roles that universalism values and previous purchase behaviors for fair trade non-food products have in formation of beliefs, attitudes, and future purchase intentions. The development of empirically tested model provides a theoretical understanding of the purchase of fair trade non-food products for young consumers.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Yoon Jin Ma



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

127 pages