Identifying bias in self-reported pro-environmental behavior

Bereich: Arbeit & Chancengleichheit

Pinpointing measurement bias in questionnaires of green and ecological behavior

Questionnaires that measure pro-environmental behavior - also known as PEB, green, sustainable, or ecological behavior - are often applied in project evaluations or when designing interventions for sustainable living. Moreover, results using these PEB questionnaires form the foundation for implementing new initiatives or policies. However, previous research suggests that self-reported PEB questionnaires contain measurement error that can bias estimates, lead to incorrect findings and invalid conclusions.

Given the potential presence of error, we hypothesize that changes to the way self-reported PEB is measured might lead to systematic measurement errors that affect the validity of results. The first study showed that priming participants with related scales like environmentalist identity slightly changed reported behavior.

To investigate the possibility of overreporting without priming, the second study measured littering prevention behavior using the Unmatched Count Technique. A standard questionnaire format led to much higher reported behavior compared to the more anonymous covert condition, and this effect appeared driven by participants who reported a stronger environmentalist identity.

These results may help to explain some of the observed error in PEB measures. We suggest that researchers could reduce measurement bias with indirect questioning techniques. With these findings, we hope to contribute to a better empirical foundation for socially relevant innovations, initiatives, and interventions.

The article can be accessed here:

Please cite as:

Koller, K., Pankowska, P. K., & Brick, C. (2023). Identifying bias in self-reported pro-environmental behavior. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology4, 100087.

AutorInnen: Koller, K., Pankowska, P. K., & Brick, C.

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Kategorie: Zeitschriften

Publikations Datum: 2023

Preis: Open Access

Bezug: Online (download)