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.