ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY SCALES IN SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS: BELIEFS AND PERCEIVED INFORMATION
The main goal of environmental education in secondary schools is to assess environmental issues, find solutions to any problems that are identified, and finally to create pro- environmental behavior. Designing environmental education programs, beliefs and information have been mentioned as potential predictors of environmental responsible behavior. The purpose of the present study was to develop and test the psychometric integrity of three scales assessing environmental responsibility in secondary school students: cognitive beliefs, emotional beliefs and perceived information. The investigation was developed in three stages. In the first stage, scales were developed based on Maloney’s and Ward’s (1973) model, Leemings’ and Dwyer’s (1995) instrument (CHEAKS) and the relevant literature. In the second stage, the factor structure of the scales were explored. Participants were 234 (99 boys and 135 girls) Greek secondary school students (13-17 years old) who completed the three scales. Exploratory factor analysis supported the solution of one factor for the three scales. Results supported that cognitive scale consisted of nine items (Cronbach’s α = .88), affective scale consisted also of nine items (Cronbach’s α = .88) and finally perceived information scale consisted of 11 items (Cronbach’s α = .91). Confirmatory factor analysis was applied in the same sample to further identify potential problems with the items and the structure of the three scales. The analysis revealed two problematic items for the cognitive scale, also two problematic items for the affective scale and one problematic item for the perceived information scale. The rest of the items were confirmed the one factor solution that emerged from the exploratory factor analysis. The fit indices for the cognitive (CFI= .97 & RMSEA= .07), affective (CFI= .94 & RMSEA= .12) and perceived information scale (CFI= .91 & RMSEA= .10) were at satisfactory levels. In the third stage, confirmatory factor analysis was applied in another sample to support the factorial validity of the three scales. Participants were 262 (127 boys and 135 girls) Greek secondary school students (13-17 years old). The fit indices for the cognitive (CFI= .95 & RMSEA= .09), affective (CFI= .97 & RMSEA= .06) and perceived information scale (CFI= .90 & RMSEA= .09) were at satisfactory levels. Correlation analysis revealed moderate to high positive relationships between the three scales (ranging from .37 to .61), thus supporting their concurrent validity. The results of the study supported a set of three reliable and valid research tools toward a deeper understanding of young children’s environmental responsible behavior. Developing an understanding of young children’s environmental behavior becomes an essential component of providing a healthier planet.