Perspectives on heavy metal soil testing among community gardeners in the united states: A mixed methods approach

Academic Article


  • Community gardens offer numerous benefits, but there are also potential risks from exposure to chemical contaminants in the soil. Through the lens of the Theory of Planned Behavior, this mixed methods study examined community gardeners’ beliefs and intentions to conduct heavy metal soil testing. The qualitative component involved five focus groups of community garden leaders in Atlanta, Georgia. Qualitative analysis of the focus group data revealed that heavy metal soil contamination was not frequently identified as a common gardening hazard and several barriers limited soil testing in community gardens. The focus group results informed the development of a questionnaire that was administered to 500 community gardeners across the United States. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the soil testing intention was associated with attitude (aOR = 2.46, 95% CI: 1.34, 4.53), subjective norms (aOR = 3.39 95% CI: 2.07, 5.57), and perceived behavioral control (aOR = 1.81, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.99). Study findings have implications for interventions involving community garden risk mitigation, particularly gardens that engage children and vulnerable populations.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hunter CM; Williamson DHZ; Gribble MO; Bradshaw H; Pearson M; Saikawa E; Ryan PB; Kegler M
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 13