Harnessing the Cool Factor: The Effects of Social Status and Identity Development on Willingness to Engage in Pro-environmental Behaviours

Danielle Ferndale (2010). Harnessing the Cool Factor: The Effects of Social Status and Identity Development on Willingness to Engage in Pro-environmental Behaviours Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Danielle Ferndale
Thesis Title Harnessing the Cool Factor: The Effects of Social Status and Identity Development on Willingness to Engage in Pro-environmental Behaviours
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Fielding, Kelly
Total pages 105
Abstract/Summary Recent research has demonstrated the powerful influence of socially oriented approaches for changing behaviour and promoting pro-environmental behaviour. The aim of the current study was to extend on that research by investigating how increasing the social desirability of pro-environmental behaviour influences individual‘s self reported intentions to engage in pro-environmental behaviours. Using a sample of 93 participants including university students and members of the general public, the present research examined the relationship between social status and an individual‘s intentions to engage in both public and private pro-environmental behaviours. Additionally, the research investigated how this relationship differed for younger and older participants who vary in their stage of identity development. Consistent with recent research it was expected that participants would report higher intentions to engage in pro-environmental behaviours if the behaviours were linked to high social status individuals of the same age group. It was further hypothesised, based on Erikson‘s theory of psychosocial development, that this relationship would be stronger for younger participants compared to older participants because they are still developing their identity and identity development is subject to peer influence. The predicted two-way interaction did not emerge, however the effects of age and social status were moderated by participants‘ need for social success. As expected, the effects of social status were only significant for younger participants. Amongst younger participants, unexpectedly, social status only impacted environmental intentions for those low in need for social success. Participants who had a low need for social success had weaker intentions to engage in environmental behaviours when these actions were linked with high status individuals than when linked with low status individuals. Explanations for the findings are discussed.

 
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Created: Tue, 05 Apr 2011, 14:42:58 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology