Explaining personal and public pro-environmental behaviors




Yang, Philip Q.
Wilson, Michaela LaNay

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A global crisis generated by human-made climate change has added urgency to the need to fully understand human pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) that may help slow down the crisis. Factors influencing personal and public PEBs may or may not be the same. Only a few studies have empirically investigated the determinants of personal and public PEBs simultaneously, but they contain major limitations with mixed results. This study develops a conceptual model for explaining both personal and public PEBs that incorporate demographic, socioeconomic, political, and attitudinal variables, and their direct and indirect effects. Using the latest available data from the 2010 General Social Survey and structural equation modeling (SEM), we tested the determinants of both personal and public PEBs in the United States. The results reveal that environmental concerns, education, and political orientation demonstrate similar significant impacts on both personal and public PEBs, but income, gender, race, urban/rural residency, region, and party affiliation have differential effects on these behaviors. Age, cohort, and religion have no significant effect on both types of behaviors. Our results confirm some existing findings; however, they challenge the findings of much of the literature.


Article originally published in Sci, 5(1), 6. English. Published online 2023. https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5010006


Environmental behavior, Personal pro-environmental behaviors, Public pro-environmental behaviors, Determinants, Environmental concern, SEM


This is the published version of an article that is available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5010006. Recommended citation: Yang, P. Q., & Wilson, M. L. (2023). Explaining personal and public pro-environmental behaviors. Sci, 5(1), 6. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.