Gender differences in environmental values : an issue of measurement?

Jelle Boeve-de Pauw, Karen Jacobs, Peter Van Petegem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Increasingly, researchers are focusing on the study of environmental values of young people. Indeed, it is todays youth who will be the decision makers in the future. Attention has turned to explaining individual differences in this construct, and many authors have illustrated gender differences. The current study (N = 1,285, 10- to 12-year-olds) compares results of a classical analytical approach to quantifying such differences (independent samples t tests) with one of measurement and structural invariance across genders. The essential difference between the two is that whereas the latter controls for differential item functioning across gender, the first does not. The results show that whereas gender differences in utilization values occur when applying a classic analytical approach, they do not occur through the invariance approach. These results suggest that other studies that demonstrated gender differences might be explained by differential item functioning rather than reflect genuine differences, and might thus represent methodological artifacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-397
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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