Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Science and Mathematics


Earth and Environmental Studies


While it may be quite evident that people perform environmentally harmful acts, the psychological origin of environmentally destructive behaviors and attitudes has been largely avoided and set-aside. This research offers an insight claiming that environmental concerns only exist when there is no self-interest. Self-interest was narrowed down to the self and the focus placed on the T . The study conducted was aimed at bringing about a correlational relationship between selfism and environmental concerns, with the hypothesis stating that a negative correlation should exist.

Scientific research has devised environmental concern measurements according to various ideas of what it is that constitutes an environmental concern, such as beliefs or values. Contrary to an individualistic perspective of each human possessing unique psychological traits (morals, beliefs, values, etc...) and therefore being separate from others psychologically, a holistic approach was presented and applied in an attempt towards reaching the fundamental root of human-environment conflict. Two measures of environmental concerns were utilized for the study, one addressing conscious environmental concerns, while the other was used for determining subconscious environmental concerns. Selfism and environmental concerns were simultaneously correlated with students’ majors and the number of college level environmental courses taken.

Data was collected from one hundred twenty-two undergraduate students. The study found mixed results. A significant negative correlation existed between subconscious environmental concerns and selfism, while an insignificant negative correlation was found between conscious environmental concerns and selfism. The significantly positive correlation between conscious and subconscious environmental concerns was not highly correlated, raising the topic of self-images and what it actually means to identify or to be. In addition to the potential research implications between selfinterest and environmental concerns, the theory behind the hypothesis was also applied to the field of environmental education.

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