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Unpacking the Relationships Between Pro-environmental Behavior, Life Satisfaction, and Perceived Ecological Threat

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  • Schmitt, Michael T.
  • Aknin, Lara B.
  • Axsen, Jonn
  • Shwom, Rachael L.

Abstract

Using samples from Canada (N=1220) and the United States (N=1001), we examined how performing a variety of pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) predicted life satisfaction. Controlling for demographic characteristics and perceptions of ecological threat, more frequent engagement in pro-environmental behaviors predicted higher life satisfaction. All but 2 of 39 PEBs were positively related to life satisfaction, suggesting that the relationship generalizes across behaviors. However, life satisfaction was more strongly predicted by behaviors that involved more social interaction, behaviors that were more easily observed, and by behaviors that involved direct costs in terms of money, time, and effort. Evidence for the role of direct costs was stronger than that for socialness or observability. In addition, perceptions of ecological threat negatively predicted life satisfaction, but this effect was partially suppressed by higher engagement in pro-environmental behavior. Results suggest that lifestyle changes that might be part of a sustainable society need not represent threats to well-being, and might even provide a means of enhancing well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmitt, Michael T. & Aknin, Lara B. & Axsen, Jonn & Shwom, Rachael L., 2018. "Unpacking the Relationships Between Pro-environmental Behavior, Life Satisfaction, and Perceived Ecological Threat," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 130-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:130-140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.07.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gkargkavouzi, Anastasia & Halkos, George & Matsiori, Steriani, 2019. "How do motives and knowledge relate to intention to perform environmental behavior? Assessing the mediating role of constraints," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 1-1.
    2. Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Guardiola, Jorge, 2020. "Does it have to be a sacrifice? Different notions of the good life, pro-environmental behavior and their heterogeneous impact on well-being," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    3. Erda Wang & Nannan Kang, 2019. "Does life satisfaction matter for pro-environmental behavior? Empirical evidence from China General Social Survey," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 449-469, January.
    4. Claborn, Kelly A. & Brooks, Jeremy S., 2019. "Can We Consume Less and Gain More? Environmental Efficiency of Well-being at the Individual Level," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 110-120.
    5. Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Alhusen, Harm, 2019. "On the determinants of pro-environmental behavior: A literature review and guide for the empirical economist," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 350, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Dirk-Jan van de Ven & Mikel González-Eguino & Iñaki Arto, 2018. "The potential of behavioural change for climate change mitigation: a case study for the European Union," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 23(6), pages 853-886, August.
    7. Martin Binder & Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg & Heinz Welsch, 2019. "Pro-environmental norms and subjective well-being: panel evidence from the UK," Working Papers V-417-19, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2019.
    8. Dhandra, Tavleen Kaur, 2019. "Achieving triple dividend through mindfulness: More sustainable consumption, less unsustainable consumption and more life satisfaction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 83-90.
    9. Boobalan, Kirubaharan & Nachimuthu, Geetha Sulur, 2020. "Organic consumerism: A comparison between India and the USA," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 53(C).

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