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Context-appropriate environmental attitude measurement in Nigeria using the Campbell paradigm

Abstract

The need to tailor environmental policies in Africa with an understanding of public attitudes is commonly acknowledged, but efforts to generate such understanding are generally constrained by a lack of reliable context-appropriate measures. Attempts to ‘borrow’ Western measures in African research are typically undermined by the cross-cultural inequivalence of constructs and theoretical models. Consequently, we tested the potential of the Campbell paradigm—an approach that enables context-specific adaptation of attitude measurement, among a Nigerian sample (N = 543). Data were gathered with a questionnaire survey. Our findings show that a context-appropriate environmental attitude measure can be obtained by assessing the behaviours and intention statements Nigerians execute in response to environmental issues. On average, pro-environmental attitude levels among our sample were characterized by professed intentions to perform the most difficult behaviours and actual engagement in the least difficult behaviours. The environmental attitude measure derived using the Campbell paradigm is positively related to other conventional attitude indicators including the perceived threat of climate change, concern, efficacy beliefs and acceptance of responsibility for mitigation. We conclude that the Campbell paradigm offers a viable avenue to proceed beyond simple assessments of professed environmental attitudes to more accurate evaluations of Africans’ disposition to strive for the achievement of ecological goals in difficult circumstances.

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Notes

  1. The NEP scale was developed by an American environmental sociologist, Riley Dunlap, and is one of the most widely used measures of environmental concern in the world (see Dunlap 2008).

  2. For example, behaviours such as membership in an environmental group, recycling and green consumerism imply a pro-environmental attitude. Pro-environmental attitude in turn implies a degree of commitment to the goal of environmental protection.

  3. Although other authors commonly refer to this construct as ‘ascription of responsibility’ (e.g., Steg and de Groot 2010), the term ‘acceptance of responsibility’ is used here instead to more precisely describe the ascription of responsibility to oneself.

  4. There was no requirement to obtain ethics approval at the University of Ibadan as the research was conceived and administered at the University of St Andrews.

  5. An alternative coding of participants’ academic discipline yields significant differences between those plausibly most and least exposed to environmental information (See supplementary File 2).

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Acknowledgements

The preparation of this article was supported by a Santander Research Mobility Grant awarded to the first author. We thank Professor Florian Kaiser for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Charles A. Ogunbode.

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Ogunbode, C.A., Henn, L. & Tausch, N. Context-appropriate environmental attitude measurement in Nigeria using the Campbell paradigm. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 2141–2158 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-018-0281-1

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Keywords

  • Attitude measurement
  • Environmental attitudes
  • Attitude–behaviour gap
  • Africa
  • Cultural sensitivity