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Interplay of Pro-Environmental Intentions and Prosocial Behavior: the Role of Connectedness

Fri, April 13, 4:15 to 5:15pm, Hilton, Floor: Second Floor, Marquette Ballroom

Abstract/Description

The need for human behavioral modification toward more pro-environmental behaviors is well recognized (Robertson & Barling, 2013). One viable way is to promote prosocial behavior in adolescence. Additionally, prosocial behaviors are beneficial not only for the broader environment but for adolescent’s adjustment (Eisenberg et al., 2015) and successful youth development (Lerner et al., 2002) as well. Cognitive developmental theorists have pointed out that role-taking opportunities (i.e., exposure to different people and differing viewpoints) are primary venues for the development of morality and prosociality (Lind, 2000). With such opportunities, adolescents are facing when they are connected to their contexts. Thus, this study aims to investigate the relations between connectedness to various contexts (school, family, neighborhood, and peers) and adolescents` intent to preserve the environment and prosocial behavior.
The sample size was N = 594 (53,9% girls). The age of participants ranged from 13 to 17 (M=15.27, SD=1.07). The sample consisted of two subsamples: younger (n = 261, M=14.16, SD=0.43) and older adolescents (n = 332, M=16.15, SD=0.39). For measuring prosocial behavior, the contribution to family and community subscales from the Three-dimensional Contribution Scale (3DCON, Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė & Kaniušonytė, under review) was used. Connectedness to school, family, neighborhood, and peers was measured using the respective subscales from the measure of positive youth development (Lerner, Lerner et al., 2005). Pro-environmental intentions were measured with the subscale from environmental perception scale (Bogner & Wiseman, 1999).
Structural Equation Model (SEM) analyses were conducted using Mplus 7.31 (Muthén & Muthén, 1998–2015). We tested a model where connection with a school, family, neighborhood, and peers predicted pro-environmental intentions and contribution to family and community. Results indicated that model fitted data well (χ2 (188) = 350.65, χ2/df = 1.86, CFI = .97, RMSEA = .038 [.032-.044]) and revealed that connection to school predicted pro-environmental intentions and contribution to community, connection to family positively predicted only contribution to family, and connection to neighborhood predicted only contribution to community (see Fig. 1). The multigroup analyses revealed that model was age (ΔCFI = 0, ΔRMSEA = .001) and gender (ΔCFI = .001, ΔRMSEA = .001) invariant.
Summarizing the results, we can conclude that stronger connections in school, including teachers and other significant adults, is important for the development of adolescents’ prosocial behavior. Thus, we can discuss that aiming to promote pro-environmental attitudes and behavior the researchers should focus on the school intervention settings.

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