Environmental Protection and Nature as Distinct Attitudinal Objects: An Application of the Campbell Paradigm

Abstract

In environmental psychology, many researchers have apparently placed appreciation of nature and appreciation of environmental protection in the same attitudinal category. In this article, the authors argue that this involves a misconception. The authors used survey data from 1,336 Swiss adults to compare competing attitudinal models: the currently accepted one-dimensional model against a two-dimensional model that distinguishes appreciation of nature from appreciation of environmental protection. A Rasch-type measurement model was implemented to test the theoretically anticipated item-factor structure. The model that treated appreciation of nature and appreciation of environmental protection as distinct attitudes was statistically superior to the one-dimensional model. The gains in reliability and model accuracy were modest, but the authors see substantial theoretical and practical value in treating appreciation of nature and appreciation of environmental protection as separate attitudes. For example, if the intention is to promote more environmental engagement, then appreciation of nature might be the more malleable target and thus the critical factor for change.

Publication
Environment and Behavior

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