Environmental attitudes of senior secondary school students in South Australia

Anthony Worsley, Grace Skrzypiec

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65 Citations (Scopus)


The environmental attitudes of 958 senior secondary students, from a stratified sample across 32 country and metropolitan schools, aged 15-18 years, were measured using a modified version of Herrera's (1992) Journal of applied social psychology 22(8), 657-676. Questionnaire of Environmental Beliefs. Principal components analysis extracted seven factors Including two independent components of environmental optimism and environmental pessimism. The first factor, environmental concern, accounted for nearly one-quarter of the variance. The analysis suggests that environmental opinion may not be a homogeneous construct, but is quite limited in heterogeneity. Generally students from both rural and urban regions were quite concerned, yet pessimistic, about environmental issues. Adolescent women were less optimistic and less supportive of science solutions for environmental problems than adolescent men, and students with lower socioeconomic status tended to be more supportive of environmental exploitation and science solutions than others. Environmental opinion also varied across different types of schools. There was some suggestion that environmental pessimism may be related to environmental education received at school, and that vegetarianism may be associated with strong environmental opinions. Both of these propositions require further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Attitudes
  • Australia
  • Environment
  • Survey


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