Skip to content Skip to navigation

Effort As a Moderator of the Attitude-Behavior Relationship: General Environmental Concern and Recycling

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Social Psychology Quarterly, Volume 59, p.375- (1996)



It is proposed that attitude are stronger predictors of behavior when the amount of effort required for the behavior is high than when little effort is required. The first study found support for the hypothesis among undergraduates who participated in a high-effort recycling program. A second study of undergraduates found a strong positive relationship between attitudes of environmental concern and the amount of effort they were willing to exert to recycle. The third study, a meta-analysis of studies on the relationship between environmental concern and recycling, showed that studies conducted in (high-effort) dropoff recycling programs typically found a stronger relationship than studies conducted in (low-effort) curbside recycling programs. Across all three studies the results consistently support recent theoretical findings: Effort is a strong moderator of the attitude-behavior relationship.