Situational and Personality Factors as Direct or Personal Norm Mediated Predictors of Pro-Environmental Behavior

Harland, P., Staats, H., & Wilke, H. (2007). Situational and personality factors as direct or personal norm mediated predictors of pro-environmental behavior: Questions derived from norm-activation theory. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 29(4), 323-334.

Studies that use the norm activation theory (Schwartz, 1977) to explain pro-environmental behavior often focus on personal norms and on two situational activators, i.e., awareness of need and situational responsibility (e.g., Vining & Ebreo, 1992). The theory's other situational activators, efficacy and ability, and its personality trait activators, awareness of consequences and denial of responsibility, are generally ignored. The current article reports on two studies--a mail survey among the general public (N = 345) and a laboratory experiment among university freshmen (N = 166)--that found that (1) inclusion of additional activators improved the norm activation theory's potential to explain proenvironmental behavior and (2) personal norms significantly mediated the impact of activators on pro-environmental behavior. Theoretical issues and issues concerning environmental management evoked by these results are discussed.

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