Ella Graham-Rowe, Donna C. Jessup, Paul Sparks (2019). “Self-affirmation theory and pro-environmental behaviour: Promoting a reduction in household food waste.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 62, 124-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.02.003
Abstract: Household food waste has a significant detrimental impact on the environment. However, despite national campaigns, people in high income countries throw away a sizeable proportion of the food they purchase.
The present study investigated whether self-affirmation could promote openness to information detailing the negative consequences of household food waste, with a particular focus on fruit and vegetable waste.
Participants (N = 362) completed either a standard self-affirmation manipulation, an integrated self-affirmation manipulation or a control task before reading the information and completing a series of measures assessing cognitive antecedents of behaviour. Household fruit and vegetable waste was self-reported one-week later.
Compared to their non-affirmed counterparts, participants in the standard self-affirmation condition wasted less fruit and vegetables at follow-up. The findings suggest that self-affirmation has the potential to promote engagement with pro-environmental behaviour. Research should continue to explore how to integrate self-affirmation successfully within pro-environmental campaigns.