Revision of the Perceived Environmental Control Measure
Sanford, Cynthia M.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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It has been proposed that knowing about an individual's locus of control (L of C) can help predict his/her potential for taking environmental action. The purpose of this study was to construct a L of C instrument which could be used to measure an individual's perceived L of C for taking environmental action in generally stated situations. The L of C instrument created was modeled after Champeau's (1982) Perceived Environmental Control Measure (PECM), labeled the Revised Perceived Environmental Control Measure (RPECM), and tested for evidence of reliability and validity. The final instrument was comprised of 45 items in three L of C belief orientations: 1) Internal (I); 2) Powerful Others (P); 3) Chance (C). These three belief systems were in turn applied equally across five categories of environmental action: 1) Ecomanagement; 2) Economic Action; 3) Legal Action; 4) Political Action; 5) Persuasive Action. Subjects were asked to respond to the RPECM statements as if they actually pertained to their lives. Participants in this study included sample populations of college students. Results of this study support the proposed relationship between L of C and environmental action taking behavior. The majority of subjects perceived themselves as having some personal control over the generally-stated environmental concerns. However, powerful others and chance were also identified as agents having some control over the potential for environmental action. Subjects showed a tendency to feel most in control with ecomanagement practices and least in control in the case of political action. The RPECM exhibited evidence of reliability, content validity and construct validity. It contains a set of subscales which show potential for diagnosing environmental action taking behavior and for evaluating the effectiveness of environmental education curricula.