Personality predictors of Consumerism and

Environmentalism and
Simon Cohen
Jeff Edgar
Chris Latham-Warde
Sanni Kujala
Two Studies
• Hirsh, J.B. & Dolderman, D. (2007). Personality
predictors of Consumerism and Environmentalism:
A preliminary study. Personality and Individual
Differences, 43, 1583-1593.
• Hirsh, J.B. (2010). Personality and Environmental
Concern. Journal of Environmental
Psychology, 30, 245-248.
Personality predictors of Consumerism and
Environmentalism - Hirsh & Dolderman, 2007
compassion, social concern, a broader selfconcept
selfishness, possessiveness, accumulation of
material possessions
Is there a link between these two values and the
Big Five personality domains?
Hirsh, J.B. & Dolderman, D. (2007). Personality predictors of Consumerism and
Environmentalism: A preliminary study. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 1583-1593.
Personality predictors of Consumerism and
Environmentalism - Hirsh & Dolderman, 2007
• Do we adopt personal values that are compatible with
our traits?
• Research suggests there is a relationship with
Schwartz's value domains and the Big Five (Oliver &
Mooradian, 2003)
• Assessment of participants' personality, consumer
goals, and environmental attitudes
New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) - concern over environmental issues
Ecological Self Scale - sense of personal connection to the environment
Consumer Values Orientation Scale - value of material possessions
Behavioural Goals - either consumerist or pro-environmental behaviours
Big Five Inventory (BFI) - measure of Big Five personality traits
Oliver, J.M. & Mooradian, T.A. (2003). Personality traits and personal values: A
conceptual and empirical investigation. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 109–
• Participants:
106 undergraduate students (74 female)
• Measures of Environmentalism and
Consumerism were internally consistent
• Principal component analysis was used to
produce composite Environmental and Consumer
• No significant gender differences in composite
measures of Environmentalism or Consumerism
Correlations Between Composite Variables and
Personality Traits
• Consumerism and Agreeableness: r = -0.27
• Environmentalism and Agreeableness: r = 0.33
• Environmentalism and Openness: r = 0.24
Discussion of the Data
• Low Agreeableness tends to be associated with
self focus.
• High Agreeableness tends to be associated with
empathic concern.
• Agreeableness and Openness predict different
parts of the total variance of environmentalism.
Limitations of the Study
• No demographic variables were examined.
• No real world behaviour observed.
• No causal relationships established.
Personality and Environmental
Jacob Hirsh, 2010
A follow-up study...
• Previous study investigated both Consumerism and
• Positively linked Environmentalism with Agreeableness
and Openness
• This follow-up study focusses on the personality traits
associated with environmental concern
Agreeableness and Openness will remain significant
predictors of increased environmental concern
Elaborating on the previous study...
• Larger Sample Size (n=2690)
• Increased Age Range (26 to 93 years)
• Less Imbalanced Gender Distribution
(47% male and 53% female)
• Different Nationality
• Wider Social Grouping (not just undergraduate students)
- Enables the study of Demographic Variables
Measuring personality:
15 item version of the Big Five Inventory
(completed by participants in 2005)
Measuring environmental concern:
Responses to measures in studies spanning 1994-2007
There was a focus on 3 measures:
1. Environmentally Concious
2. Importance of Environmental Protection
3. Worried about Environment
• Latent environmental concern factor was strongly
related to each environmental factor:
"importance of environmental protection" - β = 0.94
"worried about environment" - β = 0.64
"environmentally conscious" - β = 0.62
Environmental concern was in turn predicted by
individual differences in the Big 5 personality traits:
• Agreeableness - β = .22
• Openness - β = .20
• Neuroticism - β = .16
• Conscientiousness - β = .07
• Extraversion - β = .02
• Confirmed previous research that higher levels of
Agreeableness and Openness are related to greater
environmental concern (Hirsh and Dolderman, 2007)
o Increased robustness due to such varied samples:
adult vs student population, German vs Canadian
• Higher levels of Neuroticism associated with higher
levels of environmental concern
o Individuals tend to be more worried about negative
outcomes in general
o More an egoistic form of environmental concern as
opposed to altruistic
• Consciousness had a small but statistically significant
effect on environmental concern
o Possibly more likely to follow social guidelines and
norms for appropriate environmental action
• Shortened 15 item BFI-S doesn't allow for
assessment of lower-order personality traits
o Some aspects of each Big 5 domain might relate
more strongly than others
o Also means the answers did not reflect a
comprehensive coverage of the entire domain of
environmental attitudes
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