Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko

Second Advisor

Elena P. Bastidas

Third Advisor

Robin Cooper

Abstract

The managers of natural settings, that welcome visitors with dogs, often post regulations requiring dog waste to be collected and dogs to be leashed, but noncompliant behavior persists. Using an outdoor-recreation conflict model (ORCM) dog-walking practices were positioned as potential sources of conflict. The overarching purpose of this study was to explore the utility of pairing the ORCM with an expectancy decision-making model (the health belief model, HBM) when developing a persuasive message to promote the collection of dog waste. As a cross-sectional, descriptive, online survey, responses from 284 trail visitors who walk with a dog were used to test for relationship between self-reported dog-walking practices and respectively perceptions of antecedent conflict factors, conflict potential and/or HBM factors. Some antecedent conflict factors were related to dog-walking behaviors. Conflict potential related to dog-waste collection and to attachment, visit frequency and tolerance. The usefulness of applying the HBM to promote dog-waste collection was questioned because only one HBM factor related to dog-waste collection. By using ORCM factors as stratifying variables, the significant relationship between HBM barrier and dog-waste collection was attributed to specific levels of visit frequency, tolerance for human-dog interactions, and conflict potential. Strength of relationships were typically weak. For land-managers, these findings suggest that visitors who walk with a dog may be more varied than one might assume of a same-activity group; and they justify further exploration of perceptions of conflict potential rooted in human-dog interactions for the purpose of fostering positive experiences and resource preservation in shared natural settings.

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