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Action speaks louder than words: The effect of personal attitudes and family norms on adolescents’ pro-environmental behaviour

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  • Grønhøj, Alice
  • Thøgersen, John
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    Abstract

    Adolescents’ environmentally relevant behaviour is primarily carried out in a family context. Yet, it is usually studied and discussed in an individual decision-making perspective only. In a survey involving 601 Danish families, we examine to which extent adolescents’ everyday pro-environmental behaviour is the outcome of their own pro-environmental attitudes or the product of social influence within the family, that is, a reflection of the dominating values and norms in the family group as manifested most clearly in their parents’ attitudes and behaviour. In addition, we examine the moderating effects of two family characteristics, parenting style and the “generation gap” (parent–child age difference), on the relative weight of adolescents’ personal attitudes vs. social influences within the family as predictors of adolescents’ pro-environmental behaviour. Results show that the adolescents’ pro-environmental behaviour is heavily influenced by the dominating norms within the family and in particular by how strongly they are manifested in their parents’ behaviour.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 292-302

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:292-302

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

    Related research

    Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Attitudes; Socialisation; Parenting; Environmentalism;

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    References

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    1. Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, 03.
    2. Thøgersen, John, 2008. "Social norms and cooperation in real-life social dilemmas," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 458-472, August.
    3. Ward, Scott, 1974. " Consumer Socialization," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 1-14, Se.
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    6. Hsieh, Yi-Ching & Chiu, Hung-Chang & Lin, Chia-Chi, 2006. "Family communication and parental influence on children's brand attitudes," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(10-11), pages 1079-1086, October.
    7. John, Deborah Roedder, 1999. " Consumer Socialization of Children: A Retrospective Look at Twenty-Five Years of Research," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 183-213, December.
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    9. Biel, Anders & Thogersen, John, 2007. "Activation of social norms in social dilemmas: A review of the evidence and reflections on the implications for environmental behaviour," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 93-112, January.
    10. Diamantopoulos, Adamantios & Schlegelmilch, Bodo B. & Sinkovics, Rudolf R. & Bohlen, Greg M., 2003. "Can socio-demographics still play a role in profiling green consumers? A review of the evidence and an empirical investigation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 465-480, June.
    11. Moschis, George P & Moore, Roy L, 1982. " A Longitudinal Study of Television Advertising Effects," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(3), pages 279-86, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Corradi, Nicola & Priftis, Konstantinos & Jacucci, Giulio & Gamberini, Luciano, 2013. "Oops, I forgot the light on! The cognitive mechanisms supporting the execution of energy saving behaviors," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 88-96.

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