Public Attitudes Towards and Knowledge of Sustainability: A Pilot Study

Jessica Eleazer, Avery Perkins, and Dr. Stephanie E. Jett, Department of Psychology, Georgia College & State University, 231 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville, GA 31061

Sustainability is the concept of using resources in a way which meets the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. With environmental health in question, understanding daily decisions that impact environmental health is crucial to enacting change. Our study asks: 1) what demographic and personality factors impact attitudes towards sustainability, 2) what factors impact knowledge of sustainability, and 3) what factors impact sustainable actions and behaviors? Data collection for this project is ongoing. To measure knowledge of sustainability, we used the Assessment of Sustainable Knowledge survey. To measure attitudes towards sustainability, we used the Sustainability Attitudes Scale. To measure sustainable behaviors, we used the Sustainable Behaviors survey (adapted from Michalos et al., 2009). The Big 5 Personality Inventory (conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, extraversion) and the Dark Triad Inventory (machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy) are used to measure personality. Other demographic questions will investigate such components as vocation gender identity. The study is exploratory in nature, but we predict that people who score higher on the following traits will view sustainability more favorably and will engage in more sustainable behaviors: openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion. Additionally, we predict that people high in machiavellianism and psychopathy will not be as knowledgeable or favorable towards sustainability and will not engage in as many actions of sustainability. It is possible that individuals high in narcissism could score high on sustainable actions in order to be viewed more positively by their peers, but they could lack the actual knowledge of and positive attitude towards sustainability. The results from this pilot study will allow the scientific community to better educate those with little knowledge of sustainability and lend insight into why certain populations have an aversion to sustainability.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Jessica Eleazer, Avery Perkins, Stephanie Jett

Institution: Georgia College and State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6639