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Comparative optimism for environmental risks

Pahl, S., Harris, P.R., Todd, H.A. and Rutter, D.R. (2005) Comparative optimism for environmental risks. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0272-4944

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Abstract

The present research tested whether people display comparative optimism for environmental risks and the link between comparative optimism and pro-environmental activity. Study I found comparative optimism for water pollution, air pollution and nuclear energy in normal conditions, but not when participants were asked to think about pollution arising from a hypothetical accident. In Study 2, both environmental activists and nonactivists displayed comparative optimism for a list of 22 environmental risks. However, comparative optimism was not associated with self-reported pro-environmental behaviour. Instead, absolute perceived risk, ecological attitude and social value orientation were associated with behaviour. Furthermore, when controlling for group membership, the effect of absolute risk disappeared. These findings are used to address ways in which pro-environmental behaviour might be encouraged. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: APPRAISAL INVENTORY EAI; UNREALISTIC OPTIMISM; PERCEIVED VULNERABILITY; SELF; BIAS; SCALE; PERCEPTIONS; EARTHQUAKE; BEHAVIOR; EVENTS
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2009 09:04
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2009 09:04
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2004.12.004
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2004.12.004
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9855

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