Behavioral Intentions within Off-Highway Vehicle Communities in the Northeastern US: an Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior


The increasing use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) in the northeastern United States suggests the need for more effective recreation management strategies in the public forest areas. This study analyzes the differences in attitudes toward intentions to engage in certain behaviors by off-highway vehicles (OVH) through testing relationships between attitude and behavior. The study employed the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)(Ajzen 1991) to examine the attitudes and perceptions of OVH operators, and the findings reflect a weak yet positive preference for specific management actions with the overall prefernce for behavior-specific, indirect management actions.


The use of 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and 4x4s on public lands has been increasing, and this is especially significant in the northeast United Staets where the population density of public land users tends to magnify user conflict issues. Other issues that arise are the creation of illegal trails which can bring negative social and environmental impacts. By examining attitudes toward behavior, intentions, and the comlex links between attitudes and actions, the study strives to provide management recommendations based on the application of the theory of planned behavior (TPB).

The complete report including method, tools, and data for this study (full text) can be viewed here.

Related Methods

Case study research is used to conduct an in-depth investigation of an issue at a specific instance and location.
A standardized list of questions that may be administered formally or informally by mail, telephone, Internet, or in person to collect specific information from multiple individuals.

Related Partners

The Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to manage and monitor the conservation of wildlife habitats throughout the United States. This includes the direct management of the National Wildlife Refuge System for the wellfare of all American people, and using social science in the decision making process and utilization of management plans.
The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

Books and Publications

  • D'Luhosch, P., D. Kuehn, and R.M. Schuster. 2009. Behavioral intentions within off-highway vehicle communities in the northeastern U.S.: an application of the theory of planned behavior. In: D.B. Klenosky and C. LeBlanc Fisher (eds.). Proceedings of the 2008 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium. General Technical Report NRS-P-42. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 258-265 p.