Happiness as correlate of sustainable behavior: A study of pro-ecological, frugal, equitable and altruistic actions that promote subjective wellbeing

Victor Corral-Verdugo*, José Mireles-Acosta, Cesar Tapia-Fonllem, Blanca Fraijo-Sing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sustainable behavior (SB) generally encompasses a series of actions intended at protecting both the physical and the social environments. SB may be indicated by pro-ecological, frugal, altruistic, and equitable conducts and one of the aims of environmental psychology is to investigate the psychological consequences of such actions. Previous studies had reported that the practice of pro-ecological and altruistic behaviors might result in enhanced levels of happiness; people living in more equitable countries seem to be happier, while a frugal consumption often conduces to a state of satisfaction and intrinsic motivation. Yet, so far no study considering the relationship between an aggregate of the four abovementioned instances of SB, on the one hand, and subjective wellbeing, on the other hand, had been conducted. Six-hundred-and-six undergraduate students at a Mexican university responded to an instrument assessing pro-ecological, altruistic, frugal and equitable behaviors, as well as their report of happiness. By using structural equations we modeled a higher-order-construct of "sustainable behavior", indicated by the interrelations of their four first-order (proecological, altruistic, frugal and equitable) factors. The higher- order-factor coherently emerged from such interrelation. In turn, sustainable behavior significantly influenced a "happiness" factor, also specified within the structural model. Implications for the study and promotion of sustainable behaviors are discussed within the framework of a positive psychology of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Ecology Review
Volume18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Equity
  • Frugality
  • Happiness
  • Pro-ecological behavior

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