Using the Introduction below and the SPSS data file that is provided, your task is to conduct the relevant analyses and complete the research report by writing the Method, Results and Discussion sections. You need to:
(1) Describe in sufficient detail the participants, measures and procedure. Make sure you describe how the key constructs were measured, and report scale reliabilities where this information is available. N.B. the use of subheadings for the different constructs within the Measures section
(2) Report and interpret the results. Report and interpret the results of the preliminary analyses. Report and interpret the statistical tests that correspond to each prediction and append the SPSS syntax used to test the hypotheses. Describe the procedure of analyses where appropriate.
As the predicted interaction (Hypothesis 3) is significant, you will need to: (a) follow it up using simple slopes analysis, (b) graph the interaction, and (c) report tests of the simple slopes. You may use the Excel Macro to plot the simple slopes. You must create a graph in Excel for inclusion in the text.
(3) Discuss the results. Without going beyond the literature reported in the Introduction, discuss the findings of the study. You should summarise the results, including a clear statement of directionality where applicable;
note the outcome for each hypothesis; and relate results to the relevant literature. You should aIDress the theoretical and practical / social implications. You should also discuss a key study strength and limitation, and provide directions for future research.
Use the information and references provided to you in the Introduction as the basis for Discussion.
The Appendix (where you will present your SPSS syntax only); as well as Table(s), Figure(s), and Figure Caption(s) which you may include in the Results section.
You might also benefit from looking at the Method and Results sections of published journal articles that report multiple regression and hierarchical regression analyses.
The Role of Selfishness and Peer Pressure in Predicting Environmentally Conscious Behaviour
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY AND HYPOTHESES
Over the past few years, the issue of climate change has received increased attention around the world.
Many countries (including Australia) have now signed the Kyoto Treaty to reduce greenhouse emissions; environmental activists such as Al Gore have won important accolades (e.g., the Nobel Peace Prize); and the topic has been publicised in various films, including mainstream blockbusters (e.g., The Day after Tomorrow) and documentaries (e.g., An Inconvenient Truth).
Environmental experts have stated that this focus on climate change comes not a moment too soon, as irreversible damage has already been done to the earth’s fragile ecosystem. Unless climate change is slowed down, increasing fluctuations in weather patterns and ocean currents will cause significant disruptions to agriculture production and transport; major flooding in coastal cities (e.g., Sydney and San Francisco); and impoverished living standards for more than 50% of the world’s population. According to the experts, the only way to avoid such disasters is for individuals to become more environmentally conscious and change their daily behaviour.
However, little systematic knowledge exists about individual-level participation in environmentally conscious behaviour.
Work in the new field of environmental psychology has focused on documenting the extent to which individuals in various countries participate in environmental behaviours (e.g., Veschio, Hearn & Southey, 2005). Almost no work has considered predictors of such behaviours: what makes some people more likely to participate in environmentally conscious behaviour?
This is the focus of the present investigation.
Given the paucity of available research on predictors of environmentally conscious behaviour, we draw on a related literature that has considered predictors of other types of volunteer and prosocial behaviour (e.g., working in a homeless shelter or tutoring underprivileged children).
One factor that has been consistently linked with low levels of prosocial behaviour is selfishness (e.g., Furnham, Petrides, Jackson & Cotter, 2002). Selfishness is a personality trait associated with focus on one’s own goals and desires, with less attention paid to the interests and needs of others (Eysenck, 1967). People high in selfishness tend to be self-absorbed and have little empathic concern for others.
As such, it is not surprising that people who score highly on measures of selfishness are less likely to participate in prosocial behaviour.
It is widely understood that selfishness is a stable personality trait that does not tend to change over an adult’s life (Eaves, Eysenck & Martin, 1989). This is troubling, as it suggests that high scorers on selfishness are disposed towards low levels of environmentally conscious behaviour,
and that this cannot be changed. However, this deterministic perspective on selfishness has recently been challenged: research shows that, in some situations, selfishness does not have the negative implications for prosocial behaviour that had been previously identified (e.g., Perkins & Corr, 2000; Smillie, Yeo, Furnham & Jackson, 2001). Rather, the relationship between Selfishness and prosocial behaviour appears to depend upon various intervening factors.
Unfortunately, this research did not specifically focus upon environmentally conscious behaviour as an outcome.
Nevertheless, it is encouraging in so far as it suggests that there may be some contextual factors that attenuate the possible link between selfishness and low levels of participation in environmentally conscious behaviour.
One factor that may â€˜buffer’ against the putative causes of lower levels of environmentally conscious behaviour is peer pressure (Lim, 1997). According to Cohen and Hoberman (1983), the presence of peers exerting (appropriate) social pressure can have a significant influence on an individual’s behaviour. For instance, having friends who talk about taking public transport may influence an individual to stop driving to work.
Broadly speaking, our research question considers whether high peer pressure may counter the negative implications that selfishness has for participating in environmentally conscious behaviours. Specific hypotheses are outlined below.
Aims & Hypotheses
The first aim of this study was to examine the relationship of selfishness to a measure of perceived peer pressure to engage in pro-environmental behaviour. Specifically, it was hypothesised that selfishness and perceived peer pressure would covary
(perhaps because people high in selfishness always perceive low peer pressure to do things). If this is the case, then it may be inappropriate to examine them as univariate predictors of other variables; their inter-relationship must be taken into account. Therefore, one concern is to test the theoretical model that people who score higher on trait selfishness score lower on perceived peer pressure (Hypothesis 1).
Second, we predicted that, in a model that also includes a demographic variable (age),
both trait selfishness and perceived peer pressure would be associated with participation in environmentally conscious behaviour (Hypothesis 2). Specifically, we expected that respondents who perceived more peer pressure about environmental issues would report higher levels of participation in environmentally conscious behaviour, independently of age and selfishness (Hypothesis 2a).
We also expected that respondents who scored higher on selfishness would report lower levels of participation in environmentally conscious behaviour, independently of age and perceived peer pressure (Hypothesis 2b). Further, we hypothesised that perceived peer pressure would be a more important predictor than selfishness, independently of age (Hypothesis 2c).
Finally, we predicted that the effect of trait selfishness on participation in environmentally conscious behaviour would be moderated by perceived peer pressure (Hypothesis 3). Specifically, we expected that the negative association between trait selfishness and participation in environmentally conscious behaviours (predicted above) would be attenuated for those reporting high levels of perceived peer pressure.