Environmental Concern and the Dimensionalit Problem: A New Approach to an Old Predicament.

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  • Author(s): Lynn, Deborah
  • Source:
    Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press). Sep96, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p644-662. 19p.
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    • Abstract:
      Objective. Much previous work in the field of survey research has puzzled over modest bivariate correlations between different environmental measures, suggesting that public attitudes on the environment art rather crude, disconnected, and narrowly focused. Using 1991 Gallup data, the purpose of this research is to present a methodological critique and reevaluation of the literature on the dimensionality of environmental concern. Methods. Given the frequent, yet problematic, use of environmental batteries that ask respondents to express opinions using a common response format, this paper uses confirmatory factor analysis to correct for both random and nonrandom sources of measurement error. Results. Data results suggest that not only can the standard environmental battery used by Gallup be reduced to relatively few latent factors, those factors are themselves strongly correlated across a diverse set of environmental issues, as well as among several broad idea elements thought to define environmental concern. Conclusions. While current results offer compelling evidence of the near unidimensionality of environmental attitudes, and of the willingness of many Americans to express concern for environmental quality, ultimately dimensionality alone may be insufficient proof that public attitudes on the environment have matured into, a sophisticated and constrained social paradigm or belief system. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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