Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2017


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2017


Copyright © 2017 Adam Fenton


Human personality is a complex formation of attributes that comprise an individual. These personality traits maintain links to personal attitudes or beliefs about objects, people, and issues that are encountered throughout life. It is a long-standing goal of social research to understand not only personality traits and attitudes, but also the linkage between the two. This research uses survey questionnaires administered to University of Nebraska-Lincoln students to assess the modifying factors of elementary school activity levels, average city/state/national park attendance, and environmental education on personality traits and pro environmental attitudes. Each respondent answered a Big 5 short form personality assessment and New Ecological Paradigm survey to ascertain personality type and environmental attitudes. The research discovered that of the five personality types, openness is the only one to be linked to pro environmental attitudes without modifying factors. Adding each of the modifying factors in increasing levels strengthened the connection between openness and pro environmental attitudes. High levels of elementary school activity and an environmental education strengthened the connection between conscientiousness and pro environmental attitudes to significant levels. A lack of environmental education and lower levels of outdoor activity paired with a high score in agreeableness lead to a lower likelihood of pro environmental attitudes, which was also true for high scores in extroversion. The only association for neuroticism in my research is a strengthening effect from a lack of environmental education on having pro environmental attitudes.