Does going green make us happy? Disentangling when pro-environmental behavior enhances wellbeing

Johnson Zawadzki, S., Steg, L. & Bouman, T., 2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic

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We studied the conditions under which pro-environmental behavior (PEB) and wellbeing are related. Unexpectedly, we did not find any meaningful relations between PEB and wellbeing in the 2017 European Social Survey. In an experimental study (N= 333), we aimed to study why this was the case. Half of the participants received filler questions between the key measures (replicating ESS 2017) and half did not. Additionally, half received the measures in the hypothesized order (PEB  wellbeing) and half in the opposite order (replicating ESS 2017). We included two types of PEB (i.e. specific versus general PEB), and three indicators of wellbeing (i.e. hedonic happiness, life satisfaction, and eudaemonic happiness). All participants completed both single-item measures (replicating ESS 2017) and full-scale measures.

We found that the relation between performing a specific PEB and hedonic happiness is present only for participants who did not receive filler questions (regardless of question order). The relation between specific PEBs and hedonic happiness seems more likely when participants are given a chance to reflect on the connection between their pro-environmental engagement and their happiness. Future research will explore conditions that might strengthen this weak relation between specific PEBs and hedonic happiness, as well as identify specific psychological processes that may ultimately allow PEBs to contribute to deeper, long-term wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventKurt Lewin Institute Conference - Zeist, Netherlands
Duration: 24-Apr-201825-Apr-2018


ConferenceKurt Lewin Institute Conference


Kurt Lewin Institute Conference


Zeist, Netherlands

Event: Conference

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