Useful Correlates of
Michael R. Swenson William D. Wells University of Minnesota
A secondary analysis of two recent national consumer surveys shows that pro-environmental behavior is correlated with some major demographic variables and with concern for the environment, cosmopolitanism, liberalism, frugality, planfulness, community involvement, health concerns, perceptions of financial distress, and dissatisfaction with life. This chapter explores how these findings can be used in developing and disseminating pro-environmental campaigns.
The first "Earth Day"-- April 22, 1970--marked the beginning of sustained research on relations among demographic characteristics, personality traits, pro-environmental attitudes, and pro-environmental behavior. The outcomes of this effort have been mixed. Demographic and personality characteristics that correlated with pro-environmental attitudes in one investigation failed to correlate with pro-environmental attitudes in others. Attitudes that predicted pro-environmental behavior in one study failed in replications ( Anderson & Cunningham, 1972; Belch, 1979; Buttel & Flinn, 1978a; De Young, 1985-1986; Granzin & Olsen, 1991; Hines, Hungerford, & Tomera, 1987; Kassarjian, 1971; Pickett, Kangun, & Grove, 1993; Samdahl & Robertson, 1989; Van Liere & Dunlap, 1981; Vining & Ebreo, 1990; Webster, 1975; see Antil, 1984, or Schwepker & Cornwell, 1991, for reviews).
Looking across all this work, and surveying the low and sometimes inconsistent correlations, Pickettet al. ( 1993) concluded that the general constructs, "pro-environmental attitudes" and "pro-environmental behav-