Volume 5, Article 19
Associations of pro-environmental behaviours with hedonic and eudemonic well-being among young, working adults from three European nations
Natasha Parker, Tim Kasser, Birgitta Gatersleben, and Angela Druckman
Citation: Parker, N., Kasser, T., Gatersleben, B., & Druckman, A. (2021). Associations of pro-environmental behaviours with hedonic and eudemonic well-being among young, working adults from three European nations. European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 19, 1-13. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-5-2021/volume-5-article-19
Processing dates: Submitted 14th May; Resubmitted 13th August 2021; Accepted 17th August; Published 8th December 2021
Background: A growing body of research demonstrates that well-being is positively correlated with ecologically sustainable behaviours, yet there is still much to understand about the nature of this association. There is a lack of clarity in the extant research as to whether pro-environmental behaviours have a stronger or more consistent relationship with pleasure-based, hedonic well-being or with virtue-based, eudemonic well-being. It is also unclear if a third variable, materialism, which has consistently been linked to lower wellbeing and engagement in fewer pro-environmental behaviours, might explain the co-occurrence of these variables.
Method: The current study addresses these questions in a survey of young working adults across three European nations: the UK, Italy, and Hungary.
Results: The results showed that pro-environmental behaviours were positively associated with wellbeing in all three countries, including two nations (Italy and Hungary) where this relationship had not previously been studied. Pro-environmental behaviours were positively associated with both hedonic and eudemonic well-being, with no difference in the strengths of the associations. Hedonic well-being was more consistently associated with pro-environmental behaviours than was eudemonic well-being across the three nations. We found that materialism did not explain the relationship between pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing. We also demonstrated that a range of demographic factors did not diminish the size of the relationship between pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that pro-environmental behaviours are not only compatible with wellbeing due to a virtuous sense of “doing good,” but they may be inherently pleasurable. We discuss the implications of this finding for two explanations of why well-being and pro-environmental behaviours are related.
Keywords: pro-environmental behaviours, wellbeing, materialism
Natasha Parker is a PhD Researcher at the Centre for
Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
Tim Kasser is Emeritus Professor at the Department of Psychology, Knox College, Galesburg, USA
Birgitta Gatersleben is a Reader in Environmental Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey,
Angela Druckman is Professor of Sustainable Consumption and Production, Centre for Environment and Sustainability,
University of Surrey, Guildford, UK