RESPONSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOR IN GREEK ADOLESCENTS
The evolution of environmental education over the past three decades has brought with it a lot of surveys, questionnaires, and scales in order to measure people’s behavior toward the environment. A widely used and valuable instrument that evaluates daily human actions to protect the environment is the Responsible Environmental Behavior scale (Cottrell, 2003; Maloney, Ward, & Braucht, 1975; Sivek & Hungerford, 1989/1990). Zafeiroudi & Hatzigeorgiadis (2012) adopted the scale and supported its validity in a Greek adult sample.
The present study aimed to adjust the Responsible Environmental Behavior scale for adolescents and tested its psychometric characteristics. The procedure of the investigation was developed in two stages.
In the first stage of the study, participants were 234 (42% boys and 58% girls) Greek secondary school students (14-17 years old) who completed the 10 item scale. Initially, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify the factor structure. The analysis supported the previously reported structure, through the identification of two factors (a) 'individual environmental action’ consisting of 7 items and (b) ‘group environmental action’ consisting of 3 items. The two subscales internal consistency was also supported (Cronbach’s α=.82 and .84 respectively). Following, a confirmatory factor analysis (using EQS) was applied in the same sample to further identify potential problems with the items and the structure of the instrument. The analysis revealed one problematic item. The rest of the items were confirmed the factor solution that emerged from the exploratory factor analysis. The fit indices for the specified model were at satisfactory levels (CFI= .95, SRMR=.062, RMSEA=.085).
In the second stage of the study, participants were 262 adolescents (13-17 years old) (48% boys and 52% girls) who took part in a summer camp. The revised 9-item questionnaire was administered along with a measure of outdoor activities participation. Confirmatory factor analysis (using EQS) supported the factorial validity of the instrument. The fit indices for the specified model were at acceptable levels (CFI= .90, SRMR=.059, RMSEA=.081). In terms of reliability, the Cronbach’s alpha for the two subscales were acceptable (>.70). Examination of the mean scores showed that participants scored higher on individual actions compared to group actions. Finally, an analysis of variance revealed that adolescents participating in outdoor activities ‘systematically’ scored higher in both 'group environmental action' (p <.001) and ‘individual environmental action’ (p<.01), than those campers who reported lower scores in outdoor activities participation. The results of the present study supported the psychometric integrity of the Responsible Environmental Behavior scale for Adolescents and provided useful information on children’s environmental behavior in Greece.