Theories about ambivalence, as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical
approaches, are applied to obtain an understanding of recycling among young
adults. A questionnaire was mailed to 422 Swedish young people. Regression
analyses showed that a mix of negative emotions (worry) and positive emotions
(hope and joy) about the environmental problems was positively related to
recycling. The opposite pattern was found for attitudinal ambivalence toward
recycling. Thereafter, semistructured interviews were performed. In a group of
reluctant recyclers, the ambivalent attitudes consisted of views that recycling is
something beneficial for the environment and is a civic duty. On the other hand,
they wanted more information, were unable to integrate youthful ideals about
living in an environmentally friendly way with the everyday life of young
adulthood, and felt low self-efficacy. In addition, strategies to activate positive
emotions alongside a high degree of environmental worry were explored in a
group who recycle regularly.
2008. Vol. 40, no 6, 777-797 p.
recycling behavior, attitudinal ambivalence, environmental problems, mixed emotions, worry, hope, emerging adulthood