Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
M. Christine Porter
Global climate change is one of the most pressing issues of the contemporary age, and a problem to which different countries have offered various responses. This study uses social, cultural, and behavioral frameworks to address the differences between French and American people's environmental attitudes and behaviors. Two studies are presented here. The first is an analysis of data from an environmental survey conducted by the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), used to establish the relationships between environmental attitudes and behaviors in the United States and in France. The second study is a questionnaire of our design distributed to French and American participants, which tests the influence of cultural norms on perceptions of environmental attitudes and behaviors. Our main hypotheses were (a) American attitudes and behaviors would correlate while those of the French would not; and (b) Americans would emphasize environmental attitudes while French participants would emphasize environmental behaviors. Our results showed that (a) environmental attitudes predict environmental behaviors in the United States but not in France; (b) Americans emphasized norms of environmental attitudes more than norms of environmental behaviors; (c) French people emphasized norms of environmental attitudes and behaviors to the same degree. We concluded that the desire to adhere to perceived cultural norms is a strong predictor of environmental behavior. Since French participants show an already high level of environmental behavior, our recommendations for future action focus on the United States. We suggest that future campaigns designed to promote environmentally conscious behavior focus on forming perceptions of society as high in both pro-environmental attitudes and behavior.
Kashdan, Alix G., "Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors: A Cross-Cultural Analysis in France and the United States" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 646.
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