Knowledge, opinions, and behavior concerning consumer rights and responsibilities of potential community consumer education leaders: an exploratory study

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The study was designed to ascertain the knowledge, opinions, and behaviors concerning consumer rights and responsibilities of the potential community consumer education leaders attending a state-wide leadership conference. A variety of community leaders frcxn paraprofessional volunteers to professionals from various fields were present. Usable data were collected from 201 conference participants; this represented 63.61% of those in attendance. The "Measurement of Consumer Rights and Responsibilities" (MCRR) was developed which included twenty-six multiple-choice questions to measure knowledge, twenty-six statements with a six-point Likert-type scale to assess opinions, and seven behavior questions related to consumer responsibilities.

Mean achievement score on the knowledge section was 19.14, representing 73.62% correct. Kuder-Richardson formula twenty reliability estimate equaled 0.52. Item analysis indicated positive point biserial correlations for all questions.

The opinions expressed indicated that the respondents generally were aware of their consumer rights and responsibilities, firmly agreed with them, and responded in the direction anticipated of actively responsible consumers. In several instances the most intense level of agreement or disagreement was expressed.

Reported behaviors indicated that the majority of the respondents accepted the responsibility to express their consumer voice by refusing to buy products, taking action against poor quality products, using product information to aid decision making, and by demonstrating generally ethical marketplace behavior. Most (88.06%) failed to accept the responsibility to affiliate with a local or state-wide consumer action group.

No statistically significant relationship existed among the knowledge, opinions, and behaviors reported by the potential community consumer education leaders concerning consumer rights and responsibilities. Sex, education, age and income of the respondents were not related to the opinions and behaviors reported.

A significant relationship existed between the knowledge of consumer rights and responsibilities and the sex, education, and income of the respondents. The males scored significantly higher than the females on the knowledge section. Those with more education scored better than those with less education, while the potential consumer leaders with higher incomes scored better than those with lower incomes.