Norm activation, environmental value orientation and ecological behavior

T.K. Espinoza, J.J. Vaske, M.H. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Theory and past research suggest that ecologically appropriate behavior increases when individuals are (a) aware of the consequences (AC) of situations, (b) ascribe personal responsibility (AR) to protecting the environment, and (c) value the preservation of the environment. We examined this “norm activation” model using two data sets from the Netherlands. The first study in 2010 (n = 285) used an internet survey; the second in 2011 (n = 265) was based on a mail survey. In both investigations, AC was measured with three items such as melting polar ice may increase flooding (Cronbach = .62 [2010], .68 [2011]). AR was measured with four variables (e.g., I feel responsible for the greenhouse effect) (Cronbach = .78 [2010], .79 [2011]). An environmental value orientation (EVO) scale included three questions (e.g., All organisms' are worth preserving) (Cronbach = .69 [2010], .75 [2011]). AC and AR were coded on 5-point scales ranging from disagree to agree. A 7-item norm index rated the importance respondents placed on ecological behaviors (e.g., disposing of waste appropriately). These questions were coded on scales ranging from unimportant to important (Cronbach = .81 [2010], .86 [2011]). A reported behavior scale (e.g., putting waste into bins) was constructed from seven dichotomous questions (0 = no, 1 = yes). The index ranged from 0 to 7. Structural equation models for each year generally supported the predicted relationships. In the 2010 data, as AC (beta = .31), AR (beta = .18) and EVO (beta = .24) increased, the ecological impact norm was more likely to be activated (R-square = .35). The norm concept fully mediated the relationship between AC, AR, and EVO and ecological behavior (beta = .59, R-square = .34). Analysis of the 2011 data yielded similar coefficients and explained comparable amounts of variance in the norm construct (R-square = .36) and ecological behavior (R-square = .42), with one exception. In the 2011 data, the path between AR and the norm was not significant (beta = .06). Methodological differences (internet vs. mail surveys) might account for this difference. Overall, however, the results support further research using the norm activation model.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventISSRM 2011 Madison Conference, 17th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management - Integrating Conservation and Sustainable Living -
Duration: 4 Jun 20118 Jun 2011

Conference

ConferenceISSRM 2011 Madison Conference, 17th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management - Integrating Conservation and Sustainable Living
Period4/06/118/06/11

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