Factors predicting pro-environmental behavior: the case of baby diapers

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Purpose: In addition to being one of the most commonly purchased items by infant caretakers, disposable baby diapers (DBDs) are among the most detrimental products to the environment. Shifting to a diapering method that is less harmful to the environment is an example of pro-environmental conduct. Hence, this study aims to examine how motivation, subjective norms, perceived benefits and perceived threats influence pro-environmental behavior (PEB) intention. Design/methodology/approach: This research uses a two-stage disjoint approach of partial least squares structural equation modeling to examine the data. In the conceptual model, a combination of reflective-reflective second-order constructs is used in the motivation, perceived benefits and perceived threats. A total of 233 respondents from a developing economy in Southeast Asia provide the data. Findings: This study suggests that perceived benefits (i.e. environmental, monetary and symbol) and threats (i.e. susceptibility and severity) are significant determinants of PEB. Surprisingly, motivation and subjective norms had no significant relationship with consumers' adoption of non-DBD alternatives. Research limitations/implications: To persuade caretakers to act in an environmentally responsible manner, the findings of this study imply that, where relevant, considerations for a wide variety of benefits and health risks should be made apparent. Environmental, financial and symbolic benefits should be shared with prospective target audiences. Caretakers should be warned of probable health effects of not being environmentally friendly. This study argues that caretakers' lack of information of non-DBD options may explain the insignificance of subjective norms and motivation. Originality/value: This study contributes to the social marketing literature by examining the influence of motivation, subjective norms, perceived benefits and perceived threats on the intention to use more-environmentally friendly alternatives to DBDs as a manifestation of PEB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Marketing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2023


  • Benefits
  • Diapers
  • Motivation
  • Pro-environmental behavior
  • Subjective norms
  • Threats

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