Differentiating Habits for Pro-Environmental Behaviours

Title: Differentiating Habits for Pro-Environmental Behaviours
Authors: Aitken, Nicole
Date: 2015
Abstract: To help protect the environment people need to change current non-environmental behaviours into more sustainable behaviours. By understanding habits for pro-environmental behaviours, people can strive toward building a more sustainable future. The goal of this thesis was to identify different types of repeated pro-environmental behaviours and how to best foster strong habits for pro-environmental behaviours. To achieve this purpose we combined the theoretical framework of habits (Bargh, 1994; Verplanken, 2006) with the theoretical framework of self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; 2000) to address current gaps in the habit literature. The present thesis is comprised of two articles. The first article determined if the proposed indicators of habits (i.e., behaviour frequency, habit strength, and behaviour interference) could identify different patterns of repeated pro-environmental behaviours predicted by habit and self-determination theory using cluster analysis. The three studies provided support for the three proposed types of repeated behaviours: weak habits, repeated behaviours with interference, and strong habits. These results were very robust since the same pattern was found across three studies, three samples, and three different target behaviours. The second article used the groups (i.e., weak habit, repeated behaviour with interference, and strong habit) in exploratory multinomial logistic regression analyses to identify factors related to pro-environmental behaviours which distinguished between the different types of repeated behaviours. Once again, the same three types of repeated behaviours were found across these three studies, with three new samples and two different target behaviours. Three predictors fairly consistently identified differences between the groups: autonomous motivation toward the environment, perceived importance of the environment, and the frequency of other pro-environmental behaviours. The implications of the thesis findings are discussed in relation to self-determination theory and the study of habits.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/32104
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -