Next Article in Journal
Flexibility of Scope, Type and Temporality in Mustang, Nepal. Opportunities for Adaptation in a Farming System Facing Climatic and Market Uncertainty
Next Article in Special Issue
Spreading the Eco-Message: Using Proactive Coping to Aid Eco-Rep Behavior Change Programming
Previous Article in Journal
From Talloires to Turin: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Declarations for Sustainability in Higher Education
Previous Article in Special Issue
Conservation Psychology: A Gap in Current Australian Undergraduate Psychology Education?
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1372-1386;

Explaining the Paradox: How Pro-Environmental Behaviour can both Thwart and Foster Well-Being

University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, Groningen, 9712 TS, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 January 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2013 / Accepted: 7 March 2013 / Published: 25 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
Full-Text   |   PDF [566 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


Although pro-environmental behaviour is often believed to be difficult, aggravating, and potentially threatening one’s quality of life, recent studies suggest that people who behave in a more pro-environmental way are actually more satisfied with their lives. In this manuscript, we aim to explain this apparent paradox by reviewing theoretical arguments and empirical evidence for both sides of the coin: why would acting pro-environmentally decrease one’s well-being, and why would it increase one’s well-being? We conclude that part of the answer lies in a different view on what well-being entails, and more specifically, whether the focus is on hedonic well-being (i.e., feeling pleasure) or eudaimonic well-being (i.e., feeling meaningful). View Full-Text
Keywords: well-being; pro-environmental behaviour; environmental sustainability well-being; pro-environmental behaviour; environmental sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Venhoeven, L.A.; Bolderdijk, J.W.; Steg, L. Explaining the Paradox: How Pro-Environmental Behaviour can both Thwart and Foster Well-Being. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1372-1386.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top