Promoting spillover: how past behaviors increase environmental intentions by cueing self-perceptions

Nita Lauren, Liam D. G. Smith, Winnifred R. Louis, Angela J. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Behavioral spillover theory has potential for promoting meaningful behavior change. Spillover occurs when engagement in environmental behaviors affects the adoption of other environmental behaviors. By testing a new experimental model of spillover, this article is the first to concurrently investigate three predicted mechanisms of spillover—self-identity, self-efficacy, and contribution ethic—on different types of environmental behavior. The experimental spillover model examined how triggering self-perceptions (i.e., self-identity, self-efficacy, and contribution ethic) may influence the likelihood of spillover to occur from engagement in household behaviors to intentions for other environmental behaviors. Triggering self-identity was associated with increased private- and public-sphere intentions. Contrary to expectations, contribution ethic was not associated with decreased intentions, and instead was associated with increased public-sphere intentions. Self-efficacy did not uniquely influence intentions. These findings demonstrate that everyday behaviors can provide an “entry point” for other behaviors, strengthening self-perceptions and generating positive spillover.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-258
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironment and Behaviour
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • behavior change
  • behavioral spillover
  • civic behaviors
  • contribution ethic
  • environmental behavior
  • self-efficacy
  • self-identity

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