You did, so you can and you will: Self-efficacy as a mediator of spillover from easy to more difficult pro-environmental behaviour

Nita Lauren, Kelly S. Fielding, Liam Smith, Winnifred R. Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamic relationship self-efficacy holds with behaviour leads us to suggest that self-efficacy may be a mediating mechanism for spillover. We tested this proposition by investigating whether engaging in simple and easy pro-environmental behaviour is associated with self-efficacy, which then increases intentions and subsequent actions towards new or more challenging pro-environmental behaviours. We tested this hypothesis in two studies using Australian residents. The first demonstrated spillover from easy water-related behaviours to more difficult water-related behavioural intentions, and the second study used longitudinal data to provide evidence for spillover from easy water conservation behaviours to the more difficult self-reported actions of installing water efficient appliances. Both studies supported our prediction of self-efficacy mediating the relationship between easy and more difficult pro-environmental self-reported behaviour. These results suggest that self-efficacy may be an important motivator of environmental spillover, and could be used to help encourage engagement in more challenging pro-environmental behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Behavioural ease
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Self-efficacy
  • Spillover
  • Water conservation
  • Water quality protection

Cite this