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dc.contributor.advisorCoetzee, Hendrik Christiaan
dc.contributor.advisorNell, Hermann Werner
dc.contributor.authorEvert, Maria Magdalena
dc.date.accessioned2019-08-06T10:31:27Z
dc.date.available2019-08-06T10:31:27Z
dc.date.issued2019
dc.identifier.urihttp://orcid.org/0000-0003-1577-0887
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10394/33100
dc.descriptionPhD (Environmental Sciences), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, 2019en_US
dc.description.abstractMost environmental problems are caused by the destructive behaviour of humans, which is difficult, but not impossible to change. One promising strategy to do so is to focus on people’s environmental attitudes (EAs), given that attitudes are such a strong driver of behaviour. The overarching purpose of this PhD study was to develop and evaluate an approach to understand and influence EAs at higher education institutions in South Africa. Higher education institution (on a macro level), and more specifically, the attitudes of students (on a micro level), were targeted in this study. The argument for targeting this group is that students are still developing their own paradigms, are generally open to change and new experiences, are fairly representative of the broader society, and as the future leaders, are more likely to take their (hopefully positive) attitudes and pro-environmental behaviours (PEBs) towards nature into their communities and workplaces. However, to change student’s attitudes is easier said than done. Their attitudes first have to be identified, and then the development of a contextually sensitive and relevant environmental-based intervention, and finally, this intervention will have to be implemented (piloted) and evaluated (assessed) to verify that the intervention achieved the required result. These aims formed the basis for the study upon which this thesis is predicated. EAs can be defined as the beliefs and behavioural intentions a person holds regarding environmentally related activities or issues. It is therefore rather abstract and complex. In this study it was therefore decided to concretise EAs by focusing on a very specific kind of destructive human behaviour (and the concomitant attitudes that guide it) namely littering. Littering is currently one of the biggest environmental challenges, not only in South Africa, but also in the world, because littering poses a serious threat to biodiversity and optimal functioning of ecosystem services on the one hand, and human health and well-being on the other hand. A sequential multiple method design was used in the study, which consists of three stages (see Figure 1.2). The aim of the first stage was to explore EAs of undergraduate students at three different campuses of a South African University (n = 1283) and to examine how these EAs differ in terms of students’ demographic characteristics and campus affiliations. A structured questionnaire was used to collect biographical data, and students’ EAs were assessed via the Revised New Ecological Paradigm Scale (NEP) (Dunlap et al., 2000) and the Environmental Attitudes Inventory (brief version) (EAI-24) (Milfont & Duckitt, 2010). Results indicated that students’ EAs lean more towards utilization, which is an anti-environmental factor, than to the pro-environmental factor of preservation. Furthermore, demographic factors such as gender and ethnicity, as well as campus affiliation were significantly correlated with students’ EAs, implying that students’ demographic characteristics need to be empirically assessed and taken into account when tailoring environmental-based interventions aimed at instilling pro-environmental EAs. The results of the first study clearly showed that there is a definite need for an environmental-based intervention aimed at instilling pro-environmental EAs among students, and that a multi-cultural context will have to be taken in consideration. The aim of the second stage of the study was to develop an intervention programme aimed at changing students’ littering behaviour as well as their general attitudes towards nature. The programme development process consisted of three Phases: Phase 1 involved the development of a preliminary programme, drawing from existing literature on littering, programme development, and behavioural/attitudinal change; in Phase 2, the proposed intervention programme was sent to an expert panel for review; and in Phase 3, the feedback from the review panel was used to further develop and refine the programme. Prominent themes that arose from the feedback were incorporated in the finalized programme. Based on the changes that were made to the developed programme, it was concluded that the programme was ready to be implemented and evaluated. The aim of the third stage was therefore to implement the said programme, and to evaluate the programme by measuring the students’ littering behaviour with the Littering Prevention Behaviour Scale (LPBS) (Ojedokun, 2016) and their EAs with the Environmental Attitudes Inventory (EAI-24) scale (Milfont & Duckitt, 2010) before and after the intervention. The post-intervention questionnaire also included qualitative questions that were used to clarify any ambiguous findings. The results indicated that the programme was successful in changing the students’ littering behaviour. However, due to a lack of psychometric reliability of the EAI-24, it is unclear whether and to what extent the students’ EAs had been affected. These findings lead to the conclusion that intervention programmes that are developed by taking into account the specific demographics of the target group and that are set out to target specific environmental behaviours are successful in changing behaviours such as littering, suggesting this approach may be useful in developing similar intervention programmes at other tertiary institutionsen_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNational Research Foundation (NRF) North-West University (NWU)en_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.publisherNorth-West University (South Africa). Potchefstroom Campusen_US
dc.subjectEnvironmental attitudesen_US
dc.subjectLitteringen_US
dc.subjectLittering prevention behaviour interventionen_US
dc.subjectPro-environmental behaviouren_US
dc.subjectMulti-cultural intervention programen_US
dc.subjectSouth-Africaen_US
dc.subjectUniversity studentsen_US
dc.titleThe development and evaluation of an approach to understand and influence environmental attitudes at higher education institutions in South Africaen_US
dc.typeThesisen_US
dc.description.thesistypeDoctoralen_US
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