Opinion polls as measures of commitment to goals: Environmental attitude in Germany from 1996 to 2018
Bauske, E., Kibbe, A. & Kaiser, F. G. (2022). Opinion polls as measures of commitment to goals: Environmental attitude in Germany from 1996 to 2018. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 81, 101805.
Available free of charge until June, 16th 2022: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1e%7EG8zzKDEWDq
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101805
Can opinion polls be used to measure people's personal commitment to protecting the environment over the years, even with data that were not originally compiled from a longitudinal perspective? In a secondary analysis of 12 data sets collected over the course of 22 years and containing more than 28,000 person records, we demonstrate that opinions and reports of behavior can be aggregated into valid depictions of people's personal commitment to protecting the environment (i.e., their environmental attitudes). In contrast to traditional scaling approaches that define such measures by the item sets used for measurement, we grounded our measure in a psychological measurement theory of the response process—the Campbell paradigm. We found that the average level of environmental attitude in Germany has increased slightly since 1996. With a new sample of 1,689 respondents, we validated our estimates of people's environmental attitudes with estimates of the same people's annual CO2 emissions.
• People's environmental attitudes reveal commitment to environmental protection.
• Commitment to protecting the environment can be measured with opinion polls.
• Fragmented data from distinct samples can form a comparable commitment measure.
• People committed to environmental protection leave smaller carbon footprints behind.
• Since 1996, environmental attitude has been on a slow but steady rise in Germany.
Baierl, T-M., Kaiser, F. G., & Bogner, F. X. (2022). The supportive role of environmental attitude for learning about environmental issues. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 81, 101799.
Free access to the article (until May 22, 2022): https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1erTKzzKDEWCz
Also available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101799
People’s commitment to environmental preservation (i.e., environmental attitude) appears to be critical for manifest engagement. Correspondingly, it seems advisable that environmental scientists, educators, and policy-makers also pay heed to environmental attitude’s role in learning, another form of manifest behavior. In our research, we tested the hypothesis that people with stronger environmental attitudes learn comparatively more about environmental issues than people with weaker such attitudes. In a sample of 1,896 students (M = 14.2, SD = 1.8), we identified people’s environmental attitudes in their verbal expressions of support for preserving the environment and their self-reports of past behavior aimed at preserving the environment. We corroborated our hypothesis and found that people’s preexisting environmental attitudes supported their acquisition of new knowledge. We also corroborated the characteristic developmental trajectory of adolescents’ environmental attitudes with an early maximum at around age 11 or 12, a minimum at around age 16, and a subsequent recovery.
Keywords: knowledge level; environmental education; environmental attitudes; attitude measurement; Campbell paradigm
In the newest episode of Katie Patrick's podcast "How to Save the World" titled "The Real Psychology of Why We Make Environmental Changes" Prof. Florian Kaiser talks about sustainable behavior, environmental attitude, and behavioral costs. Here you can find more information about the episode.
Video: "Protecting the environment for its own sake against all odds" (Keynote address at the ICEP 2021)
Prof. Kaiser's invited keynote address titeled Protecting the environment for its own sake against all odds. at the 3rd International Conference on Environmental Psychology (Siracusa, Italy, October 6th 2021) is now available to watch online. Have a look and let us know what you think!