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Toward a Coherent Theory of Environmentally Significant Behavior

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Social Issues, Volume 56, Number 3, p.523-530 (2000)



This article develops a conceptual framework for advancing theories of environmentally significant individual behavior and reports on the attempts of the author's research group and others to develop such a theory. It discusses definitions of environmentally significant behavior; classifies the behaviors and their causes; assesses theories of environmentalism, focusingespecially on value-belief-norm theory; evaluates the relationship between environmental concern and behavior; and summarizes evidence on the factors that determine environmentally significant behaviors and that can effectively alter them. The article concludes by presenting some major propositions supported by available research and some principles for guiding future research and informing the design of behavioral programs for environmental protection.