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Investigating the relationship between ecological attitudes and behaviour.

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Introduction

THE PERSON IN THE SOCIAL CONTEXT INVESTIGATING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ECOLOGICAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR ANN-MARIE ROY MATRIC NO: 200203890 TUTOR: JOSIE GALLOWAY ABSTRACT This correlational study investigated the relationship between ecological attitudes and behaviour using the Caledonian Ecological Attitudes Inventory program on Macintosh computers. Seventeen participants (16 female and 1 male) responded by indicating strength of feeling on four subscales: knowledge, affect, intended behaviour and actual behaviour. To investigate correlations between the subscales CALECOL generated scores were tested using Spearman's Rank Order correlation. All four hypotheses were taken to the p<0.05 level of significance and all revealed positive correlations. The results supported all three of the one-tailed hypotheses, positive correlations between the various subscales. The two tailed hypothesis, knowledge will not correlate with scores on the intended behaviour subscale was not supported. This study concludes that ecological knowledge, affect and intended behaviour towards ecological areas have a strong link each to other and to actual behaviour, although knowledge may be less significant. Behaviour is determined by the strength of the various subscales. Words 148 INTRODUCTION Attitudes are the learned, consistent cognitions, emotions and behavioural predispositions of an individual that come into play when faced with an attitude object or situation. Attitudes are relatively fixed and allow certain predictions to peoples` future behaviour. For example a persons attitude towards family planning has been shown to correlate to their family size and whether they would sign a petition for or against abortion (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1982). Another study (Regan and Fazio, 1982) on attitudes found that attitudes and behaviour among participants (students) ...read more.

Middle

This was then analysed for any correlations between subscales and individual differences. PARTICIPANTS There were seventeen participants in total comprising of one male and sixteen females. They ages were from seventeen to forty three years and all were psychology students at Glasgow Caledonian University. APPARATUS * Instruction sheet * Macintosh computers. * PSYQUEST P1.0 -Psychological Inventory Designer and Presenter (automating scoring of self report inventory through computer presentation). * Calecol (The Caledonian Ecological Attitudes Inventory). This is made up of 56 items with 4 subscales of 14 items that are counterbalanced for scoring purposes (appendix i). The subscales were knowledge, affect, intended behaviour and actual behaviour. The computer presented the items in random order giving the choice of strongly agree, generally agree, undecided, generally disagree and strongly disagree. Scoring ranged from 0 denoting strongly anti-environmental to 4, strongly environmental. The total possible score can range from 0-224. PROCEDURE Participants responded to all Calecol inventory questions in accord with instructions from tutor and guidance from the program. The computer generated the items in a randomised fashion altering the arrangement of the responses at the same time (to reduce the chance of a habit effect forming). The computer records the answers and produces a score, both on the subscales and the total score. The participants were allowed to complete the inventory in their own time. RESULTS Table 1: mean scores for group MEAN SCORES OVERALL FOR GROUP 133.12 KNOWLEDGE 35.05 AFFECT 39.4 INTENDED BEHAVIOUR 33.94 ACTUAL BEHAVIOUR 24.06 As is evident from table 1 it can be seen that the highest mean score is from affect, 39.4. ...read more.

Conclusion

Age may affect the scores as most young people live at home and their actual behaviour may largely be under the control of their parents. So they may have the knowledge, strength of feeling and intention to be ecological but lack the means e.g. they will not usually decide which products to buy for the home or whether to recycle items. Age may also be a significant factor in revealing a correlation between the subscales. It would be interesting to find out if say the 18 - 24 age group subscales scores are significantly lower than the 36 - 44 age group. The evidence from this small study was that it might be as it was mostly the older members of the class that had the highest scores. This could be because as one ages one might ponder on the consequences of ones actions more. Pollution could be directly affecting their children and parents might want to make a contribution to their offsprings future environment. Another area that could be investigated is location. Do rural areas recycle more than towns or cities? What role does local social norms play in recycling behaviour? Measurement scales could be tailored to suit a particular class of individual, whether grouped by area, social class, disabled etc, to gain a more realistic measurement of their attitude. As attitudes are hypothetical constructs, theories and investigations will continue to be made. Through time, no doubt, measurement scales will grow more sophisticated in their search to accurately measure attitude components and their links with actual behaviour but without "tailoring" it is unlikely that all the items in an attitude inventory will apply to all participants in equal measure. ...read more.

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