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The connection between subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour: Individual and cross-national characteristics in a seven-country study

Capstick, Stuart, Nash, Nicholas, Whitmarsh, Lorraine, Poortinga, Wouter, Haggar, Paul and Brügger, Adrian 2022. The connection between subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour: Individual and cross-national characteristics in a seven-country study. Environmental Science and Policy 133 , pp. 63-73. 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.02.025
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Abstract

A positive and reciprocal relationship between subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour (PEB) has been observed across a range of countries worldwide. There is good reason however to think that the nature of the PEB-wellbeing link might vary between individuals and cross-culturally. We use data obtained in Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Poland, South Africa and the UK (total n = 6969) to test a series of hypotheses using pre-registered regression models. First, we assess the relationship between PEB and wellbeing across countries, and test the ‘privilege’ hypothesis that this varies according to personal income and a country’s level of development. Second, we consider the role of individual values and motivations in relation to PEB and wellbeing. To this end, we test the ‘enhancement’ hypothesis, in which the PEB-wellbeing link is strengthened by people holding particular values and motivations. Third, we consider the role of cultural differences for the nature of the PEB-wellbeing link. We test the ‘social green’ hypothesis that public sphere behaviours (e.g. addressing environmental issues with other people) are more closely linked to wellbeing than are private sphere behaviours (e.g. product purchasing) in collectivistic cultures; in tandem, we assess whether private sphere behaviours are more closely linked to wellbeing in individualistic cultures. We obtain strong evidence for a PEB-wellbeing link across nations. There is partial evidence across countries to support the ‘social green’ hypothesis, but little evidence for the ‘privilege’ or ‘enhancement’ hypotheses. We discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the relationship between PEB and wellbeing, and consider how its promotion might feature in environmental and public health policy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1462-9011
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 March 2022
Date of Acceptance: 23 February 2022
Last Modified: 19 May 2022 16:41
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/148958

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