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Environmental Attitudes and the Personal Relevance of Management Actions in a Park Setting

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 35, p.205- (1992)



The relationship between environmental attitudes and corresponding beliefs has been the focus of much controversy that is not just confined to the environmental literature. The controversy centers on the lack of a consistent relationship between an individual's often favorable attitudes toward preserving nature and apparent endorsement of negative actions. This research examines a possible explanation taken from communication theory that evaluates how information is integrated to form a cognitive orientation that may help explain such paradoxes. It is suggested that, as the personal relevance of information or action increases, individuals are increasingly motivated to evaluate more highly the consequences of an action. Because of this increased evaluational introspection, attitudinal beliefs or opinions may be less directly influential in predicting an outcome. The results of a survey confirmed that more personally relevant actions were less likely to be positively associated with pro-environmental attitudes, despite the benefit the environment would receive by endorsing those actions.