Behavioural aspects of the physical environment: A study of attitudes towards housing in Glasgow

Wolff, Edna (1978) Behavioural aspects of the physical environment: A study of attitudes towards housing in Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The thesis aimed to develop a theoretical approach to the study of behavioural aspects of the physical environment through an examination of the special case of attitudes to housing in Glasgow. The theoretical discussion and performance of the research were developed in two main sections, one dealing with attitudes and their measurement, in which a semantic differential questionnaire was tested and adapted, and the other dealing with the organisation of human space and relating the attitude towards the environment as disclosed by the semantic differential study to some of the space units and their characteristics. The first chapter of the thesis set the context for the study in the field of environmental psychology. It outlined the author's interest in a system approach to the study of man-environment interaction and introduced some basic points of importance in such an approach. A model of the man-environment interaction system was outlined and its limitations discussed. The methodology to be employed in creation of a theoretical framework was described. Part I of the thesis (chapters 2-8) was concerned with the theoretical structure of the attitudes and their measurement. It also dealt with some methodological implications of different techniques, and tried to place the chosen technique of semantic differential in its correct position relative to other studies of the attitude towards the physical environment. The research replicated the factor structure of the semantic differential for physical environment stimuli, using the buildings the subjects live in as the physical stimuli. The subjects were school children aged 14-16 who responded to a questionnaire describing the physical environment on the pilot phase and one for both the physical and social environments in the main study. Principal component analysis with oblique rotation resulted in a three factor structure - Friendliness, Activity and Aesthetic, The implications of the deviation of the factor structure from Osgood's EPA model wore discussed, and further analysis employing the G-L. SSA.l method was done to explain this point. Part II of the thesis (chapters 9-14) dealt with the structure of space organization, placing the stimuli used for the research in their position in the organization of space. It also presented the characteristics of the subjects and placed the sample of the current study in its dimensional .position relative to other studies. The research at this stage explored the relationships between the building find social background characteristics of the .respondents, and the attitudes expressed towards the environment. The characteristics of the environment which were examined were the size of the building, the tenure of the residential unit, and the position of the building in the city. The characteristics of the subject background which were looked into were sex, denomination and occupation of head of family. Analysis of variance was employed comparing differences between attitudes of subjects with different characteristics. The results show that both characteristics of residential unit and those of the respondent influence the attitude. It also shows that different aspects of the attitudes are predicted by different variables. The concluding discussion in chapter 15 sought to integrate the different stages of the research. It considered the extent of success for the system approach adopted in the thesis and tried to relate the separate sub-systems into the general model of man-environment interaction discussed in the first chapter. It also suggested possible implications of the .findings of the research for those involved in environmental decision-making, and drew attention to potentially useful areas of further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Social psychology, Environmental studies
Date of Award: 1978
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1978-72434
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12

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