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Gender, Values, and Environmentalism

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Objective. The social psychological values altruism, self-interest, traditionalism, and openness to change are key correlates of environmental concern and proenvironmental behavior. We investigate the relationship between gender and these values to better understand gender differences in environmentalism. We consider both gender differences in value priorities (differences in mean response on value scales) and differences in the meaning of values (differences in the factor structure of values) as well. Methods. Our analysis is based on data from a random-digit dialed national telephone survey of U.S. adults conducted in 1994. We examine differences in factor structure of values for a group of 145 white men and 200 white women using confirmatory factor analysis and differences in mean value scores using multivariate analysis of variance. Results. We find no substantial differences in value factor structure, but differences in value priorities, with women ranking altruism as more important than men. Conclusions. Our analysis supports work that focuses on mean differences in environmentalism across genders without examining gender differences in factor structure, although further examination of gender differences in factor structure is warranted. Our results also highlight the importance of gender differences in altruism as a basis for gender differences in environmentalism.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: George Mason University, 2: U.S. National Research Council

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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