Bad wolf kills lovable rabbits: children’s attitudes toward predator and prey

Pavol Prokop, Milan Kubiatko


This cross-age study explores children’s attitude toward a model predator (wolf) and prey
(rabbit). We administered a Likert-type attitude questionnaire with 30 items (15 per
predator and 15 per prey) to a total of 462 children aged 10 – 15 year in Slovakia. The
mean score from three dimensions derived by a factor analysis (scientific, ecologistic and
myths about parental care) was then subjected for pair wise comparisons. We found that
younger children aged 10-11 year showed significantly more positive attitude toward a
rabbit (prey) relative to wolf (predator). However, as children’s age increased, the
difference in means score disappear and positive attitudes toward predator and prey
generally decrease. We hypothesize that these patterns could reflect either greater
children’s ‘ecological thinking’ or, more simply, decreasing interest toward animals in
older children. The difference in attitudes toward predator and prey suggest that
children’s affective domain should not be neglected in future environmental programs,
because attitudes influence pro-environmental behavior of future citizens.



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