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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 532;

Understanding Pro-Environmental Behavior in the US: Insights from Grid-Group Cultural Theory and Cognitive Sociology

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA 30067, USA
Received: 8 December 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 20 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cultural Management)
PDF [340 KB, uploaded 20 January 2019]


For almost fifty years researchers have endeavored to identify the factors that influence individuals’ performance of environmentally significant behavior, with inconsistent results. This quest has become even more urgent as newly released scientific reports provide mounting evidence of global climate change and other types of anthropogenic environmental degradation. In order to change individuals’ behavior on a large scale, it is necessary to change their habits of thinking. Using insights from Grid-group cultural theory and cognitive sociology, this mixed-methods study examined the factors that influence pro-environmental behavior among a nationally representative US sample (n = 395). Qualitative results indicate that individuals develop culturally-specific environmental socio-cognitive schemas which they use to assign meaning to the environment and guide their environmentally significant behavior. Quantitative results indicate cultural orientation, pro-environmental orientation, environment identity, and environmental influence predict pro-environmental behavior. Applying these combined theoretical perspectives to the social problem of environmental degradation could facilitate the development of targeted strategies for bringing about impactful behavioral change. View Full-Text
Keywords: pro-environmental behavior; grid-group cultural theory; cognitive sociology pro-environmental behavior; grid-group cultural theory; cognitive sociology

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Markle, G. Understanding Pro-Environmental Behavior in the US: Insights from Grid-Group Cultural Theory and Cognitive Sociology. Sustainability 2019, 11, 532.

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