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Journal of Environmental Psychology (2001) 21, 233^248 0272 - 4944/01/030233 + 16$35.

# 2001 Academic Press
doi:10.1006/jevp.2001.0226, available online at on




Department of Psychology, University of Bath, UK
Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Existing attempts to measure Sense of Place (SOP) are open to a number of di¡erent interpretations, some of
which are well established in attitude research. Attitude theory can provide a basis for conceiving of SOP as
cognitive, a¡ective and conative relationships with human environments. In this study, Sense of Place was
de¢ned as a multidimensional construct comprising: (1) beliefs about the relationship between self and place;
(2) feelings toward the place; and (3) the behavioral exclusivity of the place in relation to alternatives. A 12 -
item SOP scale, consistent with a multidimensional theoretical prescription, was developed and subsequently
tested in the ¢eld with a sample of lakeshore property owners in northern Wisconsin (n = 282). A number of
measurement models based on attitude structure were posed as potential explanations of the scale’s construct
validity. Results suggested that the SOP scale measured a general Sense of Place dimension that gained ex-
pression in property owners’ thoughts, feelings and behavioral commitments for their lakeshore properties.
This general evaluative dimension was more explanatory of observed responses than were the three univariate
dimensions having interpretations consistent with place identity, place attachment, and place dependence.
The dominance of the SOP factor over the narrower dimensions was prevalent in three di¡erent measurement
models that posited both general and speci¢c factors. Future research in this vein could be oriented towards
re£ecting the domains of attitude more closely, rather than being organized around the domains of sense of
place as described in the literature. # 2001 Academic Press

Introduction spatial settings (Shamai, 1991). In general, SOP is

the meaning attached to a spatial setting by a per-
There are a plethora of concepts describing the re- son or group. Tuan (1979) has provided the most oft-
lationship between people and spatial settings, but cited de¢nition, declaring that a place is a center of
Sense of Place (SOP) is perhaps the most general. meaning or ¢eld of care that emphasizes human
Our research uses an attitude framework to assess emotions and relationships. Ryden (1993) added that
whether SOP encompasses place concepts commonly ‘a place . . . is much more than a point in space . . .
addressed in environmental psychology: Attach- but takes in the meanings which people assign to
ment, Identity, and Dependence. It is useful to con- that landscape through the process of living in it’
sider sense of place as an attitude towards a spatial (pp. 37^38). Accordingly, SOP is not imbued in the
setting especially since the constructs noted above physical setting itself, but resides in human inter-
share strong similarities to the a¡ective, cognitive pretations of the setting.
and conative components of attitude, respectively. For theorists such as Canter (1991) places repre-
An attitude approach o¡ers place research a num- sent a con£uence of cognitions, emotions and ac-
ber of bene¢ts: (1) organization of rather disorga- tions organized around human agency. In this
nized constructs, (2) linkage to established respect, Canter recognized that places could be con-
literature, and (3) established research methods. ceptualized as an integrated system comprising
Sense of Place has been referred to as an over- three attitude domains. He further ventured that
arching concept which subsumes other concepts de- developing an understanding of the processes in-
scribing relationships between human beings and volved in the integration of these domains would
234 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

enable stronger theoretical coherence between place limits the achievement of valued outcomes.
various threads of environmental psychology Second, the ‘strength of connection’ of the social ac-
theory (e.g., environmental cognition and environ- tor to the setting may be based on speci¢c behavior-
mental evaluation). Similarly, greater coherence al goals rather than general a¡ect.
might be obtained across di¡erent place constructs Some researchers have claimed that the relation-
by considering them within a tripartite framework ship between place constructs is poorly understood
comprising cognitive, a¡ective and conative pro- (Hammitt & Stewart, 1996; Kaltenborn, 1998).
cesses. Although particular relationships between place
Three place constructs appear in the environmen- constructs have been examined (e.g., Moore &
tal psychology literature with some regularity: place Graefe, 1994; Williams et al., 1992) the issue has not
identity, place dependence, and place attachment. been the subject of serious sustained study. Regard-
There is a considerable degree of overlap among less, there is hardly universal agreement on the re-
these concepts, but they have distinctive character- lationships between concepts. For example, in an
istics, also (Bonnes & Secchiaroli, 1995). Place iden- attempt to generate debate, Altman and Low (1992,
tity involves ‘those dimensions of self that de¢ne the p. 3) asserted that ‘place attachment subsumes or is
individual’s personal identity in relation to the phy- subsumed by a variety of analogous ideas, including
sical environment by means of a complex pattern of topophilia (Tuan, 1974), place identity (Proshansky
conscious and unconscious ideas, beliefs, prefer- et al., 1983), insideness (Rowles, 1980), genres of
ences, feelings, values, goals and behavioral tenden- place (Hu¡ord, 1992), sense of place or rootedness
cies and skills relevant to this environment’ (Chawla, 1992), environmental embeddedness, com-
(Proshansky, 1978, p. 155). As a cognitive structure, munity sentiment and identity (Hummon, 1992).’ This
‘place identity’ is a substructure of a more global articulation suggests the need for additional study
self-identi¢cation in the same way that one might on the interrelationships between variables. In our
consider gender identity and role-identity research, we seek to bring clarity to these relation-
(Proshansky et al., 1983). ships by testing the hypothesis that they can be re-
Place attachment is described as a positive bond presented as speci¢c dimensions of the more
that develops between groups or individuals and general ‘sense of place’.
their environment (Altman & Low, 1992; Williams The conceptual confusion noted above may in
et al., 1992). It explicitly contains emotional content. part be due to the diversity of approaches utilized
For example, Riley (1992) emphasized Attachment as in understanding SOP. Lalli (1992) divides SOP the-
the ‘a¡ective relationship between people and the ory and research into phenomenological and positi-
landscape that goes beyond cognition, preference, vistic approaches. Positivistic research on SOP is
or judgement’ (p. 13). Others have suggested that at- characterized by researcher-de¢ned variables, quan-
tachment ‘involves an interplay of a¡ect and emo- titative methods, and traditional hypothesis testing.
tions, knowledge and beliefs, and behaviours and In contrast, phenomenological approaches to under-
actions in reference to a place’ (Altman & Low, standing SOP address the intentional interaction
1992, p. 5). between person and environment: ‘the world of
Finally, place dependence is de¢ned by Stokols things, persons, and events as experienced by the
and Shumaker (1981, p. 457) as an ‘occupant’s per- individual’ (p. 286).
ceived strength of association between him or her- Many place theorists (e.g., Relph, Tuan) either ex-
self and speci¢c places.’ This strength of plicitly identify place research as a phenomenologi-
association is not necessarily positive, based on Thi- cal endeavor or otherwise do not use empirical
baut and Kelly’s (1959) comparison level/comparison methods to ‘test hypotheses’ in any formal sense.
level for alternatives model. This process involves a Nevertheless, these scholars make strong statements
comparison of the current outcomes to those that about the general nature of SOP. For example, Relph
would be obtained by selecting an alternative (1976) asserts that attachment to place grows
course of action. Each option may be negative; the through time and is based strongly on relationships
chosen option may simply be the best among poor with people in the setting rather than the physical
alternatives. Thus, place dependence concerns how environment. Places to which we are most attached
well a setting serves goal achievement given an ex- are those where we have had a wide variety of ex-
isting range of alternatives (‘how does this setting periences; ‘the identity of a place . . . varies with the
compare to others for what I like to do?’). Place de- individual, group, or consensus image of that place’
pendence appears to di¡er from attachment in two (Relph, 1976, p. 56). Many of these statements sug-
ways. First, it can be negative to the extent that a gest testable hypotheses about the nature of place.
Measuring Sense of Place 235

However, it is possible that the phenomenological to sacri¢ce their interests for it. In other words, re-
nature of much sense of place thinking has contrib- spondents who were prepared to endure some form
uted to the feeling that concepts should be treated of behavioral cost would also hold developed beliefs
holistically, that dissecting a multidimensional con- and strong feelings about the place. The scale was
cept is perilous business and may lead to losing the conceived to be unidimensional, which contrasts
essence of the overall concept (Hummon, 1992; with suggestions made by other theorists that em-
Krueger, 1996). phasize the multidimensional nature of SOP.
Cuba and Hummon (1993) focused on the concept
of Place identity, which they de¢ned as an expres-
Approaches to measuring sense of place sion of ‘at homeness’. Three elements of ‘Identity’
were conceived and measured: (1) its existence (‘Do
Perhaps owing in part to the phenomenological em- you feel at home here?’); (2) its a⁄liations (‘Why do
phasis, empirical investigations of SOP utilizing you feel at home here?’); and, (3) its locus (‘Do you
quantitative methods have been relatively few in associate feeling at home with living in this particu-
number and have generally lagged behind theory lar house or apartment, with living in this commu-
(Shamai, 1991; Lalli, 1992) despite calls for better nity, or with living on the Cape [Cod] in general?’).
measurement (Krupat, 1983). More recently, exam- This approach to measuring ‘Identity’ accounts for
ples, of quantitative measurement of place concepts an absence of the construct for certain individuals
have been more numerous, but we suggest that as well as any relationship between the reasons for
these attempts have not re£ected theoretical im- feeling at home and the speci¢c place loci. However,
peratives well, speci¢cally the multidimensionality respondents’ intensity of feelings toward a place are
of the sense of place concept. In the next section of not addressed.
the paper, we review several empirical studies. Hay (1998) created a scale measuring the inten-
These approaches vary to the extent to which they sity of sense of place for Banks Peninsula, New
are theoretically grounded, and range from unidi- Zealand. The summed scale (Cronbach’s a = 070)
mensional conceptions to those that explore poten- was based on reported attachment level, motivation
tial multidimensionality. to remain in the setting, ancestry, and insider feel-
In a relatively early example of quantitative place ings. The resulting scale addressed only the inten-
research, Burdge and Ludtke (1972) employed an sity of sense of place based on these four equally
‘identi¢cation with place’ scale to measure indivi- weighted variables. Hay did not conduct an analysis
duals’ a¡ective attachments to their residential of the scale’s dimensionality, but assumed that it
area. The instrument included 12 items rated on measured a single factor.
Likert scales, and demonstrated very high reliability McAndrew (1998) sought to measure the concept
(Cronbach’s a = 099). Respondents rated their level of of ‘rootedness’ which he equated with an a¡ective
agreement with attitudinal statements encompass- interpretation of place attachment. Rootedness was
ing Identity (e.g., ‘This area is in my blood, it is assumed to have positive and negative components
really a part of me’) and Attachment (e.g., ‘I don’t that de¢ned the ends of a general bipolar concept.
really feel any strong attachment to this place’). The positive dimensionölabeled ‘Desire for
Burdge and Ludtke reported that strong identi¢ca- Change’öwas measured with six belief statements
tion with place correlated positively with feelings of with Likert response scales (e.g., ‘Moving from place
apprehension about both relocating from the area to place is exciting and fun’). The negative dimen-
and having to establish new relationships in an- sion was measured with four belief statements and
other community. labeled ‘Home/Family Satisfaction’ and included
Shamai (1991) provided a scale based on Relph’s items such as ‘I love to reminisce about the places
(1976) seven ways of sensing a place. This scale re- I played when I was a child’. Due to McAndrew’s
presented four ordered categories ranging from an use of an orthogonal rotation in his principal com-
absence of a SOP to a profound commitment toward ponents analysis, the two dimensions of rootedness
a place. Respondents were required to identify a po- were not correlated. Cronbach’s alpha for the posi-
sition on the scale that best re£ected their relation- tive and negative subscales were 079 and 070, re-
ship to the place in question. The scale measured spectively. The two-component structure of the
variability in the intensity of feelings and behavior rootedness scale was replicated on an independent
of people residing in the same place at a particular sample of undergraduate students. However, the
point in time. For example, respondents lacking a item loadings were only moderate (particularly for
sense of place would not be expected to be prepared Home/Family Satisfaction) despite the principal
236 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

components technique in which item communalities ¢rmatory factor analysis. The scale loadings on a
are set to unity. The reliability coe⁄cients also de- general factor ranged from 032 (t = 769, p50001)
creased to 056 (Desire for Change) and 051 for Evaluation to 087 (t = 1540, p50001) for General
(Home/Family). Further, there was a signi¢cant ne- Attachment.
gative correlation between the two subscales, de- Williams et al. (1992) also adopted a multidimen-
spite the assumption of independence manifest in sional approach. These authors conceptualized place
the orthogonal rotation method. McAndrew (1998) attachment as an overarching concept describing an
noted that this association was ‘consistent with the emotional bond between an individual and a parti-
conceptualization of Home/Family Satisfaction and cular spatial setting. Identity and Dependence were
Desire for Change as opposite ends of the same di- conceived as subdomains of attachment. Depen-
mension’ (p. 415), suggesting a single place dimen- dence was conceived in terms of how the setting
sion at the theoretical level despite the compares with other alternatives supporting similar
multidimensionality implied in the empirical model. behavioral (recreational) goals. Identity referred to
More consistent with theoretical approaches that a form of attachment resulting from the symbolic
emphasize multidimensionality, Lalli (1992) devel- importance of the physical environment to self-de¢-
oped the Urban Identity Scale and validated it in a nition. Thus, in addition to being a resource for sa-
sample of Heidelberg residents. This instrument tisfying explicitly felt behavioral or experiential
comprised ¢ve subscales of urban-related identity: goals, a place may be viewed as an essential part
Evaluation, Familiarity, Attachment, Continuity, of one’s self, resulting in strong emotional attach-
and Commitment. The ¢rst subscale referred to eva- ment to place (Williams et al., 1992, p. 32).
luative comparisons regarding the uniqueness of the In measuring Attachment, Williams et al. (1992)
town relative to other towns (e.g., ‘There are many employed a 13 -item scale requiring respondents to
things here which are envied by other towns’). Fa- rate their agreement with statements such as ‘This
miliarity was theorized as a well-developed cogni- place means a lot to me’ and ‘I wouldn’t substitute
tive orientation grounded in everyday experience, any other area for doing the type of things I did
and was measured with items such as ‘When I am- here.’ Responses to the items were aggregated to
ble through Heidelberg, I feel very strongly that I form a Place attachment scale. No information was
belong here’. The Attachment dimension of urban provided by the authors as to the extent of the cor-
identity corresponded with general sense of place relation between the Dependence and Identity sub-
de¢nitions in the literature. Lalli de¢ned Attach- scales, but presumably it was reasonably large
ment in terms of feelings of belonging, and mea- given the high overall scale reliability (Cronbach’s
sured it with items like ‘I feel really at home at a = 093) reported in the study.
Heidelberg.’ Continuity was de¢ned by Lalli as the Following the work of Williams et al. (1992),
extent to which the respondent perceives his or her Moore and Graefe (1994) tested a model suggesting
past experiences as being synonymous with the his- that place attachment to a recreational trail setting
tory of the town. One item representative of those is composed both of place dependence (how well
included in the Continuity subscale was ‘Lots of does the place serve instrumental values or goal
things in the town remind me of my own past.’ Fi- achievement) and place identity (a more a¡ect-based
nally, the Commitment component of urban identity statement about symbolic values of the setting). The
referred to the perceived signi¢cance of the town in researchers’ principal components analysis pro-
one’s future and was measured by items that re- duced two factors that were characterized by high
£ected a commitment to a future relationship with cross loadings and a between-scale correlation of
the town (e.g., ‘I would like to stay in Heidelberg 062, suggesting a considerable degree of overlap be-
inde¢nitely’). tween constructs at the empirical level.
All ¢ve subscales showed strong correlations with
one another that ranged from 038 to 082. The high-
est average inter-scale correlation occurred for the Towards an attitude-based conception
General Attachment dimension (average r = 071). of sense of place
These summary statistics suggest that the ¢ve di-
mensions of the Urban Identity Scale are indicative The empirical approaches to measuring SOP de-
of a more simple factorial structure best repre- tailed above vary considerably in their operation
sented by Lalli’s concept of Attachment. This inter- and in the degree to which they consider the multi-
pretation of the data is supported when the subscale dimensionality of the concept. We suggest that em-
correlations and reliabilities were subjected to con- pirical measures that attempt to incorporate
Measuring Sense of Place 237

multiple dimensions of SOP are more consistent theoretical components of attitude (see Smith, 1947;
with the theoretical strands of SOP detailed above. Katz & Stotland, 1959; Ostrom, 1969; Kothandapani,
In particular, the studies by Williams et al. (1992) 1971; Bagozzi, 1978; Bagozzi et al., 1979; Breckler,
and Moore and Graefe (1994) explore multidimen- 1984). Thus, instead of a unidimensional construct
sionality and incorporate some theoretical impera- expressed in beliefs, emotions, and behavioral inten-
tive of how the di¡erent place concepts (Identity, tions, attitude is conceived as being a multidimen-
Dependence, and Attachment) interrelate. sional construct. While these more or less distinct
Although none of the researchers cited above la- components may vary along an evaluative conti-
bel them so, place-related constructs can be re- nuum, it is assumed that the evaluations expressed
garded as attitudes. Within this general framework, in each domain can potentially di¡er substantially
Sense of Place is a complex psychosocial structure for certain attitude objects. For example, a person
that organizes self-referent cognitions, emotions may feel favorable toward their lakeshore property,
and behavioral commitments. Sense of Place viewed but consider it peripheral to their identity and a
in this way is consistent with conceptions of atti- poor place to perform certain behaviors.
tude. Attitude theory can therefore provide a theo- Other conceptions of attitude posit a single di-
retical framework for organizing the relationships mension that is fundamentally evaluative (Eagly &
between place components. Chaiken, 1993; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975; Dillon &
In the following section, we further explore the Kumar, 1985). This evaluative factor can be ex-
multidimensional foundation of SOP with each of pressed in cognitive, a¡ective and conative re-
the dimensions representing di¡erent dimensions sponses, but these three classes are not regarded
or components of attitude. Place attachment is as separate components of attitude. Rather, the af-
equated with the a¡ective (or emotional) component fective, cognitive and conative realms are regarded
of attitude; place identity as the cognitive domain as domains of attitude expression or classes of ob-
whereby a place is part of the social actor’s sense served responses to attitude objects. A central as-
of self; and, place dependence represents the cona- sumption of the attitude concept in this respect is
tive domain of attitude in which the dependence ex- that a common evaluative continuum is re£ected in
pressed for one’s setting is relative to the behaviors the three classes of observed responses posited in
performed there (e.g., Moore & Graefe, 1994). The the tripartite model.
question we ask in our research is whether the in- A relatively small body of literature has at-
terrelationship between these components corre- tempted to con¢rm the discriminant validity of
sponds to conventional models of attitude structure. measures constructed to re£ect the di¡erent compo-
nents (e.g., Breckler, 1984; Breckler & Wiggins,
1989). However, the research ¢ndings have failed to
Models of attitude structure provide convincing and consistent support for one
model over the other (Bagozzi & Burnkrant, 1985;
An attitude can be de¢ned as a response to an exo- Dillon & Kumar, 1985; Widaman, 1985). Debate be-
genous event, object or stimulus (Fishbein & Ajzen, tween proponents of the single-factor and three-fac-
1975). Therefore, spatial settings may themselves tor models has centered on whether empirical
serve as attitude objects. Further, a¡ect, cognition discrimination between attitude components results
and behavior are three distinguishable components from method di¡erences or actual di¡erences be-
of response to an attitude object. A¡ect refers to tween theoretically independent concepts.
emotional responses or activity in the sympathetic The debate regarding attitude structure was ad-
nervous system, as re£ected in heart rate, galvanic vanced by the introduction of a higher-order model
skin response, or verbal self-reports. Beliefs, knowl- (Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960). This hierarchical
edge structures, percepts, and thoughts are all re- model posited the existence of a general evaluative
presentative of the cognitive component of attitude. dimension responsible for the covariation between
The conative component in a tripartite view of atti- the cognitive, a¡ective, and conative components of
tude includes reports of behavioral intentions and the tripartite conception. The primary factors were
behavioral commitments, but not actual behavior. theorized as separate mediating structures between
A number of studies have been undertaken to es- attitude and the three classes of observed re-
tablish how these di¡erent characteristics of atti- sponses. The three components were de¢ned as
tude ¢t together. Some attitude theorists assume independent constructs that might potentially
that the distinction between the response categories comprise a single attitude dimension at a higher
in which attitude is expressed represent di¡erent level of abstraction.
238 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

The following section applies the attitude models

discussed above to SOP, and highlights the interpre-
tative di¡erences following from each conceptuali-
zation. Some additional models are also introduced
as alternative bases upon which to assess the con-
struct validity of SOP measurements.

Sense of place measurement models

Like attitude, SOP is a hypothetical construct that

is not accessible to direct observation, but can be
inferred on the basis of measured responses. When
conceived as an individual’s favorable or unfavorable
attitude toward spatially demarcated object, SOP
can be inferred from responses of a cognitive, a¡ec- FIGURE 1. Tripartite (Three-Factor) Model
tive or conative nature. When each of these classes
of response is regarded as being mediated by a dis-
tinct construct, the place concepts of Identity, At-
tachment, and Dependence are evoked, respectively.
Place identity can be regarded as an individual’s
cognitions, beliefs, perceptions or thoughts that the
self is invested in a particular spatial setting. Place
attachment can be de¢ned in terms of an indivi-
dual’s a¡ective or emotional connection to a spatial
setting, and place dependence can be considered as
the perceived behavioral advantage of a spatial set-
ting relative to other settings.

Three-factor model

Figure 1 displays a diagram of the tripartite model

of SOP. Each component is represented as a distinct
construct, although potentially correlated with one
another. This model assumes that Identity, Attach-
ment and Dependence can di¡er greatly within indi- FIGURE 2. Unidimensional (One-Factor) Model
viduals. For example, a person may strongly identify
with a setting, and be attached to it (perhaps as a
result of years of association) but feel that it is a Empirically, the single-factor and 3 -factor models
poor place to earn a living or raise children. are nested when the former is expressed in a tripar-
tite form where all factor correlations are equal to
Single-factor model one. Nested models can be compared using a likeli-
hood ratio test. In this way, models with fewer con-
When the three components of SOP correlate per- straints are compared with models having more
fectly with one another, the model shown in constraints to ascertain whether the additional re-
Figure 1 reduces to a single factor model (see Fig- strictions improve the correspondence between the
ure 2). That is, all three components become indis- model-implied and sample covariance matrices.
tinguishable and hence, their originally distinct
interpretations collapse into one. From a unidimen- Higher-order model
sional attitude view, this single factor would likely
be best expressed in the Attachment items that The higher-order interpretation of SOP is displayed
more directly deal with a¡ect and express an over- in Figure 3. This model assumes that any correlation
all evaluation of the object (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). between the primary (or speci¢c) factors is due to a
Measuring Sense of Place 239

FIGURE 4. G+Group Factor Model

FIGURE 3. Higher-Order Model

more abstract construct. That is, Identity, Attach- strategy when the model fails to demonstrate an
ment, and Dependence are regarded as structures adequate approximation of the data. Speci¢cally, a
that mediate the expression of SOP in observed re- poor ¢t for the model could be due to the inappro-
sponses. However, each component may additionally priateness of the equality constraint, rather than to
re£ect unique beliefs, emotions, and behavioral pre- the existence of a higher-order factor. One explana-
ferences that are independent of one’s general eva- tion would be that the equivalence hypothesis was
luation of the setting. Thus, observed responses to false, and another would be that the hypothesis at
the spatial setting re£ect (1) the indirect e¡ects of the second-order was false.
SOP through the processes of Attachment, Identity
and Dependence, and (2) the direct e¡ects of indivi- G+Group factors model
dual feelings, beliefs and behavioral commitments.
Unfortunately, higher-order models involving only An alternative to the hierarchical higher-order mod-
three primary constructs are empirically just-identi- el is one in which the general and speci¢c (or
¢ed (Bollen, 1989). That is, while estimates for the group) factors are regarded as completely indepen-
parameters in the model can be derived, not enough dent. The group factors are not theorized to mediate
information exists to subject the higher-order part between the general factor and the response classes
of the model to a goodness-of-¢t test. Therefore, the as is the case in the higher-order model. That is,
chi-square and degrees of freedom of the model SOP is not implicated in the explanation of Identity,
shown in Figure 3 are equal to the tripartite model Attachment or Dependence. However, like the high-
in Figure 1. er-order model, all the latent variables in this
In order to over-identify the higher-order level G+Group (i.e., general and group factors) model ac-
and obtain goodness-of-¢t tests, it is necessary to count for variance in the observed variables, but the
make additional assumptions about the model (Bol- general factor has a wider range of in£uence (with
len, 1989). One assumption that follows from atti- respect to the response domains) than the group
tude theory is the contention that attitude is best factors.
re£ected by evaluative feelings toward an object All four factors in the G+Group model have
(Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). As an attitude toward a neither a conceptual relationship nor an empirical
spatially delimited setting, SOP might be more relationship with each other. Rather, SOP is as-
highly correlated with place attachment than with sumed to be expressed in a¡ective, cognitive, and
either Identity or Dependence. Thus, equality con- conative responses, and this expression is indepen-
straints could be placed on the paths linking SOP dent of any role played by Identity, Attachment or
with Identity and Dependence. Dependence. In fact, Mulaik and Quartetti (1997)
However, where the higher-order structure of the have pointed out that the independence of the fac-
model is concerned, the only thing being tested is tors is an untestable assumption of the model that
the restriction (i.e., the equality constraint) which is necessary for its empirical identi¢cation. By se-
is arti¢cially imposed. One caveat arises from this parating all four potential sources of variation,
240 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

their unique in£uences on the measured place be- The higher-order model attributes a multidimen-
liefs can be gauged. sional structure to SOP, but subordinates it to a
simpler interpretation (the e¡ects of a general SOP
factor) at a more fundamental level. In contrast, the
Correlated uniquenesses model general and speci¢c components represented in the
G+Group model are independent of one another.
The correlated uniqueness (CU) model provides a That is, SOP is regarded as a general evaluative di-
means of testing a ¢fth explanation of SOP. This mension largely independent of unitary conceptions
model, while similar to the G+Group model, is dis- of Identity, Attachment, and Dependence. Finally,
tinguished by the correlations between residual the CU model di¡ers from the G+Group model by
components of the observed item variances. While dispensing with the assumption that each group fac-
the CU model posits a general SOP factor, it in- tor is unidimensional. The speci¢c place dimensions
cludes the e¡ects of the group factors rather than have a more ambiguous interpretation in the CU
the factors themselves. Because the group factors framework since they lie outside this measurement
are not modeled directly, no assumption is made re- model.
garding their structure. These group factors may be In both the CU and G+Group models the a¡ec-
unidimensional (as in the case of the G+Group and tive, cognitive and conative categories of responses
higher-order models) or they may be multidimen- are represented as a function of a general evalua-
sional. To the extent that this model ¢ts better than tion of a place as well as the relevant attitude com-
the G+Group model, it can be concluded that Iden- ponent. These two models imply that some aspect of
tity, Attachment, and Dependence do not adequately the three response domains may be due to feelings
represent the speci¢c sources of variability in£uen- of attachment, beliefs about identity, and behavioral
cing responses to the scale items. assessments that are not synonymous with an over-
In summary, attempts to measure SOP are open to all evaluation of a place.
a number of di¡erent interpretations, some of which
are well-established in attitude research. We do not
attempt to present a formal test of attitude struc- Method
ture, but to develop an easily administered measure
of Sense of Place that is informed by attitude theory. Eight lakes in Vilas County (situated in the North-
Each of the ¢ve models of the latent structure of ern Highlands Lake District of North Central
the SOP scale represents di¡erent interpretations of Wisconsin) having a mix of privately and publicly
the construct. The three factor model suggests that owned shorelines were selected (see Figure 6). These
Attachment, Identity, and Dependence represent un- types of lakes were chosen because of their rele-
ique constructs that are not reducible to each other. vance to a number of research questions of interest
In the single factor model, however, the hypothe- to the Long Term Ecological Research project being
sised multiple dimensions of SOP are absent and conducted in northern Wisconsin (see Jorgensen, et
only a unitary conception of the construct is posed. al., forthcoming). The eight lakes included in the
study were Big Muskellunge, Diamond, High, Plum,
Razorback, Sparkling, Trout, and Witches.
Vilas county tax records served as a sampling
frame of households located within a mile of the
shoreline of each lake. A total of 743 households
were located within these areas. Each household
was sent a mail questionnaire that was developed
on the basis of ¢eld reports and preliminary trials
with a small sample of individuals from the popula-
tion of households. The questionnaire comprised a
number of sections, beginning with questions about
environmental quality, environmental values and be-
haviours with respect to riparian forest and woody
debris destribution, recreational behaviors, percep-
tions of lakeshore development, attitudes toward
the lakes and properties (including the sense of
FIGURE 5. Correlated Uniquenesses Model place items) and demographic characteristics.
Measuring Sense of Place 241

FIGURE 6. A shoreline property in Northern Wisconsin

Scale items
Factor Item label Item description
Place identity IDENTITY1 Everything about my lake property
is a re£ection of me.
IDENTITY2 My lake property says very little
about who I am.
IDENTITY3 I feel that I can really be myself at my lake property.
IDENTITY4 My lake property re£ects the type of person I am.
Place attachment ATTACH1 I feel relaxed when I’m at my lake property.
ATTACH 2 I feel happiest when I’m at my lake property.
ATTACH3 My lake property is my favorite place to be.
ATTACH4 I really miss my lake property when I’m away
from it for too long.
Place dependence DEPEND1 My lake property is the best place for doing the
things that I enjoy most.
DEPEND2 For doing the things that I enjoy most, no other place
can compare to my lake property.
DEPEND3 My lake property is not a good place to do the things
I most like to do.
DEPEND4 As far as I am concerned, there are better places to
be than at my lake property.

Following Heberlein and Baumgartmer (1978) re- the initial mailing. The response rate after the ¢rst
minder postcards and replacement questionnaires mailing was 40 per cent. With further contact, the
were sent to householders who had not replied to ¢nal response rate was 66 per cent after accounting
242 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

for undeliverable surveys, refusals to participate, property prices (15%), and non-native plants and an-
and deceased owners. Of these respondents, 71 per imals (17%) were the least reported lake issues.
cent were shoreline property owners whose re- After listwise deletion of missing values and ‘don’t
sponses were retained for further analysis. Property know’ responses (n = 32), data from 282 shoreline
owners who did not have shoreline frontage were ex- property owners remained. A variance-covariance
cluded from the analysis because (1) it could not be matrix was computed with bootstrapping so as to
reasonably assumed that the structure of sense of obtain the best estimates given the relatively small
place was comparable across the two populations, sample size (Joreskog & Sorbom, 1996a). The inclu-
and (2) the sampling strategy was not intended to sion of the asymptotic variances^covariances al-
deliver an appropriate sample of nonshoreline own- lowed the model parameters to be estimated
ers. Stedman (2000) explicitly compares sense of without an assumption of multivariate normality.
place constructs between lakeshore property owners This method enabled the calculation of robust chi-
and nonowners. squares (Satorra & Bentler, 1988) and standard er-
The three Sense of Place components were mea- rors (Yuan & Bentler, 1997).
sured with twelve self-report items (see Table 1) Overall, strong, positive beliefs about lakeshore
and 5 -point Likert response scales ranging from properties are prevalent (see Table 2). This sentiment
‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. A ‘don’t know’ is most apparent in the relatively high levels of
option was available to respondents to take into ac- mean agreement for all four Attachment items.
count nonattitudes that might otherwise reduce the Where the Identity items are concerned, however,
reliability and validity of measurement (Schuman & there is less support on average for one’s property
Presser, 1981). These items were modi¢ed from pre- to be implicated in beliefs about identity. These ¢nd-
vious research (Williams & Roggenbuck, 1989; Sted- ings substantiate the use of the asymptotic var-
man, 1997) and interspersed among items iances-covariances since some item means revealed
concerning the lakes in the region. the presence of non-normal distributions.
Examination of the correlations among scale
items failed to identify a pattern suggesting three
speci¢c attitude domains (see Appendix 1). For ex-
Results ample, the Identity items did not show higher with-
in components correlations than correlations with
Shoreline property owners in the sample were pre- items from the other place domains.
dominantly male (80%), had gross annual household
incomes in excess of $35,000 (78%), a median age of
59 years, and were residents of either Wisconsin
(59%) or Illinois (24%). Nearly one-quarter of the
shoreline owners listed their property as their per- TABLE 2
manent residence. On average, the remaining 75 Item means and standard deviations
per cent visited their properties for 75 days out of Item label Mean* S.D.
the year (42 days in Summer, 18 days in Autumn, 5
IDENTITY1 377 094
days in Winter and 10 days in Spring). Seventeen per IDENTITY2 221 100
cent of respondents were members of an environ- IDENTITY3 403 092
mental group, and 30 per cent were members of a IDENTITY4 390 086
lake association. Identity Subscale 1560 269
ATTACH1 464 054
The average size of lake properties in the sample
ATTACH2 399 080
was between 4 and 20 hectares, approximately. Most ATTACH3 406 083
shoreline property owners reported having natural ATTACH4 409 078
vegetation (89%), trees (91%), and a dock (90%) on Attachment Subscale 1686 238
the lakefront. About two-thirds of all properties in DEPEND1 411 082
DEPEND2 398 096
the sample tended to have a house insulated against
DEPEND3 181 099
the winter cold (65%), and a clear view of the lake DEPEND4 209 100
(69%). Dependence Subscale 1631 281
Property owners nominated water quality (65%), Total Scale 4877 678
habitat preservation (49%), ¢sh stocking (47%), and *Negatively worded items were inversely recoded for in-
shoreline development (45%) as the most important clusion in the summed scales. Higher numbers can be in-
issues for their lakes. Tree logs in the water (8%), terpreted as higher levels of the construct in each case.
Measuring Sense of Place 243

The ¢ve measurement models were tested using multidimensional models resulted in comparably
LISREL 830 (Joreskog & Sorbom, 1996b), and the better explanations of the observed variance. The
overall ¢t statistics are provided in Table 3. Given single-factor model is empirically nested in the 3 -
¢rst in the table is the Satorra-Bentler scaled chi- factor model (when the factor correlations in the
square (SBw2) which provides a test of the degree latter speci¢cation are equal to one), and a chi-
to which the model-based variance^covariance ma- square di¡erence test can be used to discriminate
trix is consistent with the sample matrix. The Com- between them. Consistent with the overall ¢t statis-
parative Fit Index (CFI, Bentler, 1990) is not based tics for the two models, a single-factor explanation
on chi-square and indicates the extent to which the of the sample variance-covariance matrix was re-
model ¢ts better than a baseline independence mod- jected in preference for the three-factor model
el. Next, the SRMSR is the average standardized (w2D(3) = 100083, p50001). The correlations between
¢tted residual and indicates the discrepancy be- the place dimensions were 068 (Identity and Depen-
tween the sample variance^covariance matrix and dence), 083 (Attachment and Dependence), and 072
the ¢tted matrix. Another di¡erent type of ¢t mea- (Identity and Attachment). Given the use of a single
sureöthe Root Mean Square Error of Approxima- measurement method (i.e., Likert scales) in this
tion (RMSEA; Steiger, 1990)ötakes into account study, these correlations may be in£ated to a degree.
the error of approximation in the population as well The G+Group and CU models were the least par-
as the model degrees of freedom. The last two in- simonious of the ¢ve measurement speci¢cations in
dices given in Table 3öthe Akaike Information Cri- that they have the lowest degrees-of-freedom. Mod-
terion (AIC; Akaike, 1987) and the Expected Cross els with fewer degrees-of-freedom will result in bet-
Validation Index (ECVI; Browne & Cudeck, 1989)ö ter ¢t statistics, all other things equal. However,
allow comparisons between non-nested models and when parsimony was taken into account via the
take into account di¡erences in parsimony (i.e., AIC and ECVI, the G+Group and CU models still
number of parameters) (Williams & Holahan, 1994). o¡ered better levels of ¢t.
Only the G+Group and CU models were asso- The 3 -factor and higher-order models achieved re-
ciated with nonsigni¢cant chi-square statistics, in- latively moderate degrees of ¢t, although the latter
dicating well-¢tting models. The single-factor model model was preferred on the basis of its lower AIC
in particular showed the worst level of ¢t out of the and ECVI. Nevertheless, both of these models of-
¢ve models. This model was associated with the low- fered reasonable approximations to the data, sug-
est CFI, with a value equal to 095 which is usually gesting that the domain speci¢c components of
regarded as a lower bound of good ¢t (Hayduk, Identity, Attachment and Dependence were less ex-
1996). The single-factor model also had the largest planatory in comparison with the general SOP fac-
standardized residuals (Hu & Bentler, 1995), and tor in this particular context.
the largest RMSEA (Browne & Cudeck, 1993). The speci¢c sources of variability (i.e., those inde-
The information in Table 3 indicates that the sin- pendent of a general SOP factor) were represented
gle-factor model o¡ered the poorest ¢t, while the in the G+Group and CU models. Recall that the

Model goodness of ¢ts statistics
Model Overall ¢t statistics
SBw (df) CFI{ SRMSR RMSEA (90% CI) ECVI (90% CI) AIC
1-Factor 18152 (54)*** 095 007 009 082 22952
(008; 011) (068; 098)
3 -Factor 8069 (51)** 099 005 005 048 13469
(002; 006) (041; 058)
Higher-order 7999 (52)** 099 005 004 047 13199
(002; 006) (040; 047)
G+Group 5733 (42) 099 004 004 046 12933
(000; 006) (041; 055)
CU 4465 (36) 100 003 003 046 12865
(000; 005) (043; 053)
*p5005 **p5001 ***50001
{CFI are based on the SBw2 values for the target and independence models.
244 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

latter model does not impose a structure on the variation in responses to the scale items. However,
speci¢c variability, whereas each factor is unidimen- the three domain speci¢c factors accounted for rela-
sional in the G+Group model. In both models, the tively trivial amounts of variability in the observed
speci¢c or group factors are assumed to be orthogo- items.
nal to the general SOP dimension and to one an- Reliability coe⁄cients (Cronbach’s a) were calcu-
other. The comparable performance of these two lated for each of the three subscales as well as the
models suggests that the assumption of unidimen- total SOP scale. The scales were constructed by sim-
sional speci¢c sources of variability is a reasonable ply summing the scores of the relevant items. The
one in this case. That is, allowing the structure of standardised reliability coe⁄cients were 076, 084,
the speci¢c factors to go unde¢ned did not produce 074, 089 for Identity, Attachment, Dependence and
substantial di¡erences in ¢t. SOP, respectively. These statistics support the asser-
Comparison of the estimates of the general SOP tion that each scale re£ected an adequate degree of
loadings in the higher-order, G+Group, and CU systematic variance.
models reveals considerable consistency where the
latter two, better ¢tting models, were concerned
(see Table 4). The loadings on the SOP factor in the
CU and G+Group models were virtually identical. Summary and discussion
Moreover, the loadings for the group factors in the
G+Group model re£ected the pattern of error covar- Attitude theory can provide a basis for conceiving of
iances observed in the CU model. Of interest was SOP as potentially encompassing cognitive, a¡ective
the relatively larger explanatory role of Identity and conative reactions to a spatially based object.
and Dependence relative to Attachment. The latter Our research explored the utility of considering
component accounted for little variability in ob- Sense of Place as a multidimensional construct
served responses compared with the general SOP di- comprising (1) Identity (beliefs about the relation-
mension. Consistent with the higher-order model, ship between self and place); (2) Attachment (emo-
Attachment appeared to be a redundant explana- tional connection to place); and (3) Dependence, or
tory concept in the presence of SOP. the degree to which the place in relation to alterna-
Given the comparable degrees of ¢t associated tive places is perceived to underpin behaviour.
with the G+Group and CU models, it can be con- A 12-item SOP scale, consistent with the multidi-
cluded that the SOP scale re£ects variability among mensional theoretical prescription described above,
four orthogonal dimensions in this particular re- was developed and subsequently tested in the ¢eld
search context. The most explanatory factor was a with a sample of lakeshore property owners in
general evaluative dimension (i.e., the SOP factor) northern Wisconsin. A number of measurement
summarized by owners’ positive emotion toward models were posed as potential explanations of the
their lakeshore properties. Three less explanatory scale’s construct validity. These models were gener-
and largely unidimensional factors (i.e., Identity, At- ated on the basis of research on attitude structure,
tachment, and Dependence) accounted for residual and put forward as a means to stimulate further

Comparison of general SOP factor from di¡erent models
Item Higher-order model G+Group model CU model
Primary factors SOPH7O Group factors SOPG+G SOPCU
IDENTITY1 026 049 028 054 057
IDENTITY2 7023 7043 7037 7039 7040
IDENTITY3 025 046 028 052 052
IDENTITY4 034 064 069 061 061
ATTACH1 005 043 7014 053 051
ATTACH2 010 086 022 086 083
ATTACH3 010 086 052 085 083
ATTACH4 008 069 010 073 070
DEPEND1 017 069 7041 068 071
DEPEND2 016 066 7039 065 067
DEPEND3 7011 7043 036 7038 7038
DEPEND4 7014 7055 014 7060 7062
Measuring Sense of Place 245

thought about conceptions of SOP from a measure- nothing to suggest the presence of item error covar-
ment perspective. iances (in the CU model), primary factor error cov-
Results suggest that the scale measures a general ariances (in the higher-order model), or group factor
‘Sense of Place’ dimension that is expressed in prop- correlations (in the G+Group model) that would in-
erty owners’ thoughts, emotions, and behavioral be- dicate common method variability. Nevertheless,
liefs regarding their lakeshore properties. Although mixed-method approaches to measurement should
there was also clear support for the existence of be explored in future research as a means of con-
three univariate dimensions consistent with place trolling method variance. Other approaches have
identity, place attachment, and place dependence, been expressed with respect to place that o¡er an
the general evaluative dimension better explained alternative avenue for attitude measurement and
observed responses than did the domain-speci¢c an understanding of human-environment relation-
constructs. The dominance of the SOP factor over ships (e.g., Canter, 1997).
the narrower dimensions was prevalent in three dif- The utility of our approach ultimately rests on the
ferent measurement models that posited both gener- validity of the concepts of Dependence, Identity, and
al and speci¢c factors. Attachment as attitude components. Of the concepts
The degree of covariation between the primary illustrated, the most potentially problematic is the
constructs was indicative of shared variability with concept of place-dependence as representative of
the general SOP variable that corresponded most the conative domain of attitude. In this respect,
with feelings of Attachment and least with beliefs our measures are not behavioral intentions, but
about Identity. That is, the concepts of Identity and rather reports of the degree to which the setting is
Dependence were less synonymous with the SOP perceived to serve as a basis for chosen behaviors.
factor than was Attachment. Interestingly, this is We suggest that future research in this vein could
consistent with conceptions of attitude that equate be oriented towards re£ecting the domains of atti-
the a¡ective and evaluative terms (e.g., Fishbein & tude more closely, rather than being organized
Ajzen, 1975), further supporting our contention that around the domains of sense of place as described
SOP can be addressed by researchers using attitude in the literature. For example, an attitude-based ex-
terminology and theory. However, this outcome may ploration might include (hypothetically), (1) an over-
be due to the fact that all items measuring ‘Attach- all evaluation of the setting; (2) descriptive
ment’ were positively worded. This approach was cognitions about the setting (what are its perceived
adopted so as to accurately re£ect views in the lit- attributes, what characteristics does it have); (3) be-
erature that emphasis a positive bond between hu- havioral intentions associated with the place; (4) the
mans and their environments (e.g., Altman & Low, quality of the attitude-object relationship character-
1992; Williams, et al., 1992). Subsequent research ized by the various dimensions of attitude strength;
might include both positively and negatively worded and, (5) actual behaviors that might be reciprocally
items to explore the possibility of two unipolar con- associated with the attitude. Thus, a sense of place
structs versus a bipolar model. becomes a true ‘sense’ of place in that it includes de-
Some additional caveats should be addressed with scriptive elements about ‘what kind of place is this’
respect to the conclusions drawn above. First, as well as being more explicitly behavior-related.
Breckler (1984) has noted that correlations among The particular measurement structure reported
attitude components may be in£ated due to shared here should not be viewed as a property of the scale,
variability arising from common measurement independent of the context in which the approach
methods. However, this threat to internal validity was implemented. It is reasonable to expect that
only holds to the extent that the measurement ef- the structure of the scale may not be consistent
fects are correlated with the latent variables of across a range of di¡erent conditions, and correla-
interest. tions with other constructs may vary with SOP com-
Second, the presence of measurement error that ponents. Some attitude objects may be associated
was uncorrelated with SOP might explain the un- with disparate and con£icting psychological re-
ique variability re£ected in the speci¢c place com- sponses while others may demonstrate consistency
ponents. However, method e¡ects arising from the among response domains. The conditions under
singular use of verbal reports in this study are in- which cognitive, a¡ective, and conative domains
compatible as an explanation for the speci¢c might show inconsistency will most likely vary
sources of variability, unless the method variability across populations, settings, and objects, as well as
corresponded with the three theoretical domains of a range of individual and group level characteris-
Identity, Attachment, and Dependence. There was tics. In addition, a more heterogeneous population
246 B. S. Jorgensen and R. C. Stedman

(with respect to age and income, for example) might Bonnes, M. & Secchiaroli, G. (1995). Environmental Psy-
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Pearson product moment correlation matrix

I1 I2 I3 I4 A1 A2 A3 A4 D1 D2 D3 D4
l1 100
l2 7036 100
l3 029 7035 100
l4 053 7049 051 100
A1 028 7023 030 029 100
A2 042 7029 045 053 042 100
A3 042 7029 047 052 038 085 100
A4 042 7035 041 052 037 065 067 100
D1 051 7033 037 041 039 058 057 046 100
D2 042 7027 030 031 033 058 059 045 062 100
D3 7015 015 7021 7019 7023 7033 7032 7028 7040 7038 100
D4 7035 027 7031 7040 7027 7054 7054 7042 7045 7041 040 100