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Explaining the Paradox: How Pro-Environmental Behaviour can both Thwart and Foster Well-Being
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1661-1679; doi:10.3390/su5041661
Article

Spreading the Eco-Message: Using Proactive Coping to Aid Eco-Rep Behavior Change Programming

1,* , 2
 and
3
1 Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA 2 Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Psychology, 251 Moore Bldg., University Park, PA 16802, USA 3 Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, 219 Biobehavioral Health Bldg., University Park, PA 16802, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 March 2013 / Revised: 30 March 2013 / Accepted: 7 April 2013 / Published: 18 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

Making pro-environmental behavior changes can be difficult, particularly when these changes challenge daily routines and comfortable lifestyles. We designed and implemented an eco-representative intervention program to help students reduce their energy use by proactively coping with barriers to pro-environmental behavior change, and then communicate effective behavior change strategies to student peers. Twenty-nine first-year college students participated in a four-week proactive coping training to change five environmentally impactful behaviors and then spread behavior change messages to fellow residents during a two-week energy challenge. Eco-reps successfully changed their own behaviors in a pro-environmental direction by generating important barriers and successful facilitators for behavior change, and eco-rep residence halls were more likely to reduce energy and maintain reductions compared to non-eco-rep halls. Implications for future environmental behavior change interventions are discussed.
Keywords: eco-teams; proactive coping; pro-environmental behavior change; student intervention programs; residence hall competition eco-teams; proactive coping; pro-environmental behavior change; student intervention programs; residence hall competition
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Bloodhart, B.; Swim, J.K.; Zawadzki, M.J. Spreading the Eco-Message: Using Proactive Coping to Aid Eco-Rep Behavior Change Programming. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1661-1679.

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