How do you feel about your (pro-) environmental behaviour? Investigating the interaction of moral emotions, self-efficacy expectancy, outcome expectancy and pro-environmental behaviour intention

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The Earth's climate has dramatically changed, which can be attributed to human activity. These developments require more pro-environmental behaviour. Many humans experience a gap in the moral behaviour they want to display and their actual behaviour. Moral emotions have been shown to influence behavioural intentions, therefore the current research aimed to investigate the relationship between shame and guilt and pro-environmental behaviour intention (IPEB). An online experiment was conducted in which it was attempted to induce feelings of either shame or guilt via a narrative. Additionally, a third group was subjected to a neutral narrative to act as a control group. The participants were randomly assigned to one of the three groups and had to complete a survey. The results revealed several interesting insights. Shame and guilt were found to not significantly differ in pro-environmental behaviour intention nor the emotions were able to act as a significant predictor for IPEB. Additionally, the study looked into the influence of self-efficacy expectancy and outcome expectancy on pro-environmental behaviour intention. Both self-efficacy expectancy and outcome expectancy were not found to act as a moderator. However, the belief that one can act pro-environmentally and that one’s environmentally friendly actions contribute to mitigating climate change were found to directly affect IPEB. They significantly contribute to increasing pro-environmental behaviour intention. Finally, environmental attitude was found to positively influence IPEB as well. Therefore the current study contributes to research in the field of pro-environmental behaviour by indicating the importance of environmental attitude, outcome expectancy and self-efficacy expectancy on pro-environmental behaviour intention.
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