Green identity, green living? The role of pro-environmental self-identity in determining consistency across diverse pro-environmental behaviours

Lorraine Whitmarsh, Saffron O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

611 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Policy-makers are interested in cost-effective and socially acceptable ways of encouraging the public to adopt more environmentally-friendly lifestyles. One area which UK policy-makers are focussing on is 'catalyst behaviour', the notion that taking-up a new behaviour (such as recycling) may cause people to adopt other pro-environmental behaviours. Yet, evidence for such 'spill-over' effects is so far limited, and it is unclear when and how cross-situational motivations (e.g., pro-environmental identity) may predict behaviour and when contextual factors are more important. We report on a postal survey (N = 551) of pro-environmental behaviours amongst the UK public. We assess the influence of pro-environmental self-identify on consistency across a range of behaviours. Pro-environmental values, perceived behavioural control, subjective norm, attitudes, and demographic factors were also measured. Findings show self-identity to be a significant behavioural determinant over and above theory of planned behaviour variables for carbon offsetting behaviour. However, pro-environmental self-identity was only a significant predictor for certain other pro-environmental behaviours; background variables were also important predictors. Limitations of the study, and implications for theory and policy, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010

Keywords

  • Carbon offsetting
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Self-identity
  • Spill-over effects
  • Theory of planned behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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