Research Summary

The 2-MEV Scale in the United States: A Measure of Children's Environmental Attitudes Based on the Theory of Ecological Attitude

A Refined Instrument for Measuring Environmental Attitudes in Children

The Journal of Environmental Education

Building on previous work, the authors of this paper refined a survey tool to measure environmental attitudes among American children.

The survey tool the researchers used—called the 2-MEV scale—was first developed in Europe. The 2-MEV scale asks questions related to two main themes: Preservation of Nature and Utilization of Nature. In contrast with some other scales—such as the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP), which places people’s responses along a continuum—respondents to the 2-MEV can be placed in quadrants that reflect the relative importance of each of the two themes.

The authors adapted the scale for use with 9- to 12-year-old American students. The research involved nearly 7,000 children over a four-year period. All of the students participated in one of two residential environmental education programs (Earthkeepers and Sunship Earth), and students attending the participating schools ranged from low to middle socioeconomic status.

The researchers conclude that “the revised scale is capable of detecting changes in children’s environmental attitudes after they have attended educational programs.” But they caution that “more research is needed to further test the use of the model with students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and a variety of environmental programs.”

The Bottom Line

The 2-MEV scale for measuring environmental attitudes in children has been adapted for use with American children ages 9-12, but further research should be conducted to ensure validity beyond the two residential environmental education programs in which it was tested. An instrument, such as this one, that is valid for addressing environmental attitudes might be helpful to incorporate into evaluation or other research studies at environmental education organizations, institutions, or centers.