Measuring young consumers’ sustainable consumption behavior: development and validation of the YCSCB scale

Daniel Fischer, Tina Böhme, Sonja Maria Geiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose: Promoting sustainable consumption among young consumers has become a key priority on the research agenda in such different fields as education for sustainable development, environmental psychology and consumer policy. Progress in this field has been hampered by a lack of sophisticated research instruments capable of measuring consumption behaviors that are relevant both in terms of their sustainability impacts and their suitability for teenagers. This study aims to address this research gap and presents a scale for young consumers’ sustainable consumption behaviors (YCSCB) in the areas of food and clothing. Design/methodology/approach: The scale was developed in a two-step, mixed-methods approach. In an initial qualitative interview study, the actual behaviors of theoretically selected young consumers (n = 8) were identified with regard to acquiring, using and disposing of consumer goods in the areas of food and clothing. The YCSCB scale was constructed using the findings of this qualitative study and then validated in a subsequent quantitative study (n = 155). Findings: The YCSCB scale is a valid and reliable scale to measure young consumers’ sustainable consumption behavior in the areas of food (n = 14 items) and clothing (n = 13 items). Originality/value: The findings of this research provide a twofold contribution to advancing research on YCSCB. Firstly, it presents a consolidated scale that is explicitly constructed for teenagers and their consumption contexts. Secondly, it proposes a heuristic for developing more sophisticated measurements of SCB among young consumers that would allow a comparison between studies, is focused on behaviors (instead of confounding behaviors with intentions, attitudes or values) and is impact-oriented in terms of sustainability relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-326
Number of pages15
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Clothing
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Food
  • Measure
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Teenagers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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