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A General Measure of Ecological Behaviour

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Kaiser, F. G.


Journal of Applied Social Psychology (1998)



This paper establishes environmental attitude as a powerful predictor of ecological behaviour. Past studies have failed in this enterprise because they did not consider three shortcomings that limit the predictive power of environmental attitude concepts: (1) the lack of a unified concept of attitude, (2) the lack of measurement correspondence between attitude and behaviour on a general level, and (3) the lack of consideration of behaviour constraints beyond people's control. Based on Ajzen's theory of planned behaviour, the present study uses a unified concept of attitude and a probabilistic measurement approach to overcome these shortcomings. Questionnaire data from members of two ideologically different Swiss transportation associations are used. This study confirmed three measures as orthogonal dimensions by means of factor analysis: (1) environmental knowledge, (2) environmental values, and (3) ecological behaviour intention. One other measure, general ecological behaviour, is established as a Rasch-scale that assesses behaviour by considering the tendency to behave ecologically and the difficulties in carrying out the behaviours, which depend on influences beyond people's actual behaviour control. A structural equation model was used to confirm the proposed model: environmental knowledge and environmental values explained 40 per cent of the variance of ecological behaviour intension which, in turn, predicted 75 per cent of the variance of general ecological behaviour.