Green identity, green living? The role of pro-environmental self-identity in determining consistency across diverse pro-environmental behaviours.
Whitmarsh, L. & O’Neill, S. (2010). Green identity, green living? The role of pro-environmental self-identity in determining consistency across diverse pro-environmental behaviours. J. of Environmental Psychology 30 (3) 305-314.
AbstractPolicy-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 TPB 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.