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Weimer, K. (2019). Behavior Change Towards a Sustainable Lifestyle – Effects of Interventions and Psychological Factors on Pro-Environmental Behaviors. (Doctoral dissertation). Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavior Change Towards a Sustainable Lifestyle – Effects of Interventions and Psychological Factors on Pro-Environmental Behaviors
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Climate changes due to human-caused global warming are serious challenges for the planet. Changes in individual human behavior towards more pro-environmental actions are thus highly necessary. Human behavior is complex, however, and promoting behavior change requires a solid understanding of how people behave in different situations and contexts.

Previous research has pointed out several reasons why people do not behave in accordance with our knowledge about the threat of climate change. Besides structural barriers, other reasons may be related to psychological barriers, such as beliefs, values, and social norms, which limit us in adopting more pro-environmental choices and behaviors. The overall aims of this thesis were to investigate the effects of interventions on energy conservation and ecological food consumption in promoting pro-environmental behavior, to explore the experiences of an energy-saving intervention from the perspective of the participants, and to investigate how values, attitudes, and other psychological factors predict pro-environmental behavior and pro-environmental intentions.

This thesis is built on four studies. The first study was a survey, where an investigation was made of the predictive power of value orientation, awareness of consequences, environmental concern, moral judgment competence, locus of control, and sense of coherence, on eight pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions. The results showed that only the value type universalism predicts pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions, with attitudes, awareness of consequences for the biosphere, and environmental concern for the biosphere as intermediate or transmitting variables. The results indicate that found determinants of one single behavior may not be applied to other behaviors as dependent variables. Thus, a separate analysis for every type of both actual and intentional lifestyle might have been more successful in confirming these independent variables as determinants of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions.

The second study was a randomized quasi-experimental field study. This field intervention investigated the effect of feedback on residential electricity use in households. For a period of eight weeks, differentiated energy use for daily domestic behaviors was monitored by 15 residents via an internet-based system. Feedback based on Relational Frame Theory was used to enhance motivation for energy conservation, and follow-up studies analyzed the maintenance of change for another three months. Psychological factors, including values, attitudes, moral judgment competence, locus of control, and sense of coherence, were simultaneously assessed by web surveys. No significant effects of the feedback on reduction of energy use were found. The small sample size, and the fact that warm water energy use was not monitored, were discussed as explanatory factors.

In the third study, semi-structured interviews were conducted among eight households having participated in the intervention in the second study. The interview transcripts were subject to qualitative content analysis with the purpose of exploring the experiences of the participants. Those experiences were, on the one hand, described as a struggle to overcome internal and external barriers as well as feelings of contradiction and ambivalence, representing the limitations imposed by participating. On the other hand, there were also descriptions of feelings of ability and motivation, and interaction between satisfaction and improvements, representing the opportunities available to a participant in this kind of intervention. These results support the importance of specific strategies in developing the design of future interventions for promoting residential energy conservation.

Finally, in the fourth study, an experimental field study was conducted to investigate the effects of behavioral interventions, commonly known as nudges, in promoting the consumption of organic fruits and vegetables. The consumption of both organically and conventionally produced fruits and vegetables was measured during four days (one day every other week) in a grocery store, where consumers were exposed to informational messages in combination with either emotional images or social norm messages. Measurements of daily consumption without exposure to nudges were carried out during four other days (one day every other week, alternated with the nudging days). The results showed that the proportion of sold organic products in the total sale of the selected fruits and vegetables was slightly higher during nudging days when price differences between conventional and organic products were low. This limited effect of nudging disappeared when the price of organic products was considerably higher than the price of conventionally produced products. The results indicate that there is a need to take measures to compensate for the prevailing differences in price between organic and conventional products. Such measures are, for example, the application of a combination of all available nudging tools to strengthen the effects of nudging, as well as collecting psychological data from the participants to be aware of their attitudes towards choices of organic products.

Taken together, the overall findings of the studies in this thesis confirm the complexity of behavior and of behavior change. Many questions remain unanswered and suggestions on how to develop the research on these issues are discussed.

Abstract [sv]

Klimatförändringar på grund av global uppvärmning som är förorsakad av människan är allvarliga utmaningar för planeten. Det är därför nödvändigt att människans individuella beteende förändras mot att bli mer miljövänligt. Människans beteende är emellertid komplicerat, och främjande av beteendeförändringar kräver en gedigen förståelse för hur människor beter sig i olika situationer och sammanhang.

Tidigare forskning har visat på flera skäl till varför vi människor inte beter oss i överensstämmelse med vår kunskap om hotet från klimatförändringarna.Förutom strukturella hinder, kan det finnas andra skäl relaterade till psykologiska hinder såsom övertygelser, värderingar och sociala normer, vilka begränsar oss när det gäller att anpassa oss till mer miljövänliga val och beteenden. Övergripande syften med denna avhandling har varit att undersöka hur olika interventioner påverkar energibesparing i bostäder och konsumtion av ekologisk mat i syfte att främja miljövänligt beteende, att utforska upplevelserna av en intervention för energibesparing utifrån deltagarnas perspektiv, samt att undersöka hur värderingar, attityder och andra psykologiska faktorer kan förutsäga miljövänligt beteende och intentioner till miljövänligt beteende.

Avhandlingen innehåller fyra studier. Den första är en enkätundersökning, i vilken den predicerande styrkan av värderingsorientering, medvetenhet om konsekvenser, miljöhänsyn, moralisk bedömningskompetens, kontroll-lokus och känsla av sammanhang undersöktes med avseende på åtta miljövänliga beteenden och beteendeintentioner. Endast värderingstypen universalism predicerade avsedda beteenden, med attityderna medvetenhet om konsekvenser för biosfären och miljöhänsyn för biosfären som medierande variabler. Detta skulle kunna indikera att påvisade bestämningsfaktorer för ett enda beteende förmodligen inte kan tillämpas för andra beteenden som beroende variabler. Således skulle separata analyser för varje typ av beteende kunna ha varit mer framgångsrika i att bekräfta de undersökta variablerna som bestämningsfaktorer för miljövänligt beteende och beteendeintentioner.

Den andra studien är en randomiserad kvasi-experimentell studie. Denna fältstudie undersökte effekten av feedback på energiförbrukningen i bostäder. Under en period av åtta veckor registrerades differentierad förbrukning av hushållsel, avseende vardagliga beteenden i hemmet, för 15 hushåll via ett internetbaserat system. Feedback baserad på Relational Frame Theory användes för att öka motivationen till att spara energi och uppföljningar analyserade vidmakthållandet av eventuella förändringar under ytterligare tre månader. Psykologiska faktorer, såsom värderingar, attityder, moralisk bedömningskompetens, kontroll-lokus och känsla av sammanhang mättes med hjälp av web-enkäter. Inga signifikanta effekter av feedback på energiförbrukningen kunde fastställas. Den begränsade storleken på urvalet samt faktum att förbrukningen av varmvatten inte kunde registreras diskuterades som förklarande faktorer.

I avhandlingens tredje studie genomfördes semi-strukturerade intervjuer bland de åtta hushåll som deltagit fullt ut i den andra studiens intervention. De transkriberade intervjuerna blev föremål för kvalitativ innehållsanalys i syfte att utforska deltagarnas upplevelser. Å ena sidan beskrevs dessa upplevelser som en kamp för att övervinna inre och yttre hinder samt känslor av motsägelse och ambivalens, vilket kan ses som uttryck för de krav som en intervention ställer på deltagarna. Å andra sidan beskrevs även känslor av förmåga och motivation, ett samspel mellan tillfredsställelse och framsteg som representerar de möjligheter som erbjuds deltagare i denna typ av intervention. Resultatet understryker vikten av att ta hänsyn till specifika strategier när nya interventioner för energibesparing i bostäder ska utformas.

Slutligen, i den fjärde studien, genomfördes en experimentell fältstudie där beteende-interventioner med hjälp av nudges användes i syfte att främja konsumtionen av ekologisk frukt och grönsaker. Under fyra dagar (en dag varannan vecka) mättes konsumtionen av såväl ekologiskt som konventionellt producerad frukt och grönsaker i en livsmedelsaffär där konsumenterna exponerades för information i kombination med emotionella bilder eller budskap som stimulerade sociala normer. Den dagliga konsumtionen utan exponering av nudges registrerades under fyra andra dagar (en dag varannan vecka, växelvis med nudging-dagarna). Proportionen av sålda ekologiska produkter, i jämförelse med den totala försäljningen av de utvalda frukterna och grönsakerna, var något högre under dagar med nudging om skillnader i pris mellan konventionella och ekologiska produkter var små. Denna begränsade effekt av nudging försvann när priset för ekologiska produkter var betydligt högre än priset för konventionellt producerade produkter. Resultaten av den här studien antyder att det finns ett behov att vidta åtgärder för att kompensera för de rådande skillnaderna i pris mellan ekologiska och konventionella produkter. Detta kan göras, till exempel, genom att applicera en kombination av alla tillgängliga verktyg för nudging för att förstärka effekten av nudging, liksom att samla personliga data från konsumenterna för att få kunskap om deras attityder gentemot val av ekologiska produkter.

Sammantaget bekräftar de övergripande resultaten i studierna i denna avhandling komplexiteten i det mänskliga beteendet och i förändring av beteende. Många frågor kvarstår obesvarade och förslag på hur man kan utveckla forskningen inom avhandlingens område diskuteras.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2019. p. 98
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 296
Keywords
values, attitudes, moral judgment competence, locus of control, sense of coherence, pro-environmental behavior, energy conservation, feedback, Relational Frame Theory, motives and barriers to behavior change, food consumption, organically produced food, nudging, värderingar, attityder, moralisk bedömningskompetens, kontroll-lokus, känsla av sammanhang, miljövänligt beteende, energibesparing, feedback, Relational Frame Theory, motiv och hinder för beteendeförändring, matkonsumtion, ekologiskt odlad mat, nudging
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35914 (URN)978-91-88527-98-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-05-03, F 234, Campus Östersund, Östersund, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 3 (inskickat), delarbete 4 (inskickat).

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 3 (submitted), paper 4 (submitted).

Available from: 2019-04-01 Created: 2019-04-01 Last updated: 2019-04-01Bibliographically approved
Danielski, I., Krook, M. & Weimer, K. (2018). Atrium in residential buildings – a design to enhance social interaction in urban areas in Nordic climates. In: Dennis Johansson, Hans Bagge, Åsa Wahlström (Ed.), Cold Climate HVAC 2018: Sustainable Buildings in Cold Climates (pp. 773-789). Cham: Springer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Atrium in residential buildings – a design to enhance social interaction in urban areas in Nordic climates
2018 (English)In: Cold Climate HVAC 2018: Sustainable Buildings in Cold Climates / [ed] Dennis Johansson, Hans Bagge, Åsa Wahlström, Cham: Springer, 2018, p. 773-789Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The design concept of conditioned atria receive growing popularity in  both commercial and service buildings all over the world, but still not common in the residential sector. This study used a psychological framework to examine if building design with enclosed heated atria in apartment buildings can enhance sense of community and social interactions in Nordic climates. A qualitative study was conducted to understand the perception of residents living in apartment buildings with heated atrium. One of the few examples in Sweden. This was compared to the experience of residents in a “traditional” apartment building without an atrium. The questionnaire was comprised of six parts: (i) socio-demographic aspects; (ii) information about the apartment; (iii) social activities within the building; (iv) social interaction with neighbours; (v) information about principles in life; and (vi) sense of community linked to their homes.

The results showed significant social differences between the residents of the atrium and “traditional” buildings, which could not be explained solely by differences in preferences and principles in life. A large proportion of the social differences between the buildings could be explained by the building design, as the common and semi-private areas within the atrium building provide opportunities to establish social interactions. The residents in the atrium building was found to have greater sense of community and higher frequency of interactions, which are both parts of social sustainability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cham: Springer, 2018
Series
Springer Proceedings in Energy, ISSN 2352-2534
Keywords
Atrium, Residential building, Social interactions
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35311 (URN)10.1007/978-3-030-00662-4_65 (DOI)978-3-030-00661-7 (ISBN)978-3-030-00662-4 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
Weimer, K., Richard, A. & Lisspers, J. (2018). Challenges in evaluating intervention effects of feedback on residential energy conservation in a field setting. Göteborg: Centre for Consumer Science School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges in evaluating intervention effects of feedback on residential energy conservation in a field setting
2018 (English)Report (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A field intervention investigated the effect of feedback on residential electricity use in households in Sweden. For a period of eight weeks differentiated energy use for daily domestic behaviors was monitored by 15 residents via an internetbased system. Feedback designed based on Relational Frame Theory was convened to enhance motivation for energy conservation and follow-up studies analysed the maintenance of change for another 3 months. Psychological factors including values, attitudes, moral judgment competence, locus of control and sense of coherence were assessed by web surveys. No significant effects of the feedback on reduction of energy use were found. The small sample size and not monitoring warm water energy use were discussed as explanatory factors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Centre for Consumer Science School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg, 2018. p. 26
Series
CFK-rapport, ISSN 1653-7491 ; 2018:1
Keywords
energy conservation, feedback, Relational Frame Theory
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35435 (URN)
Available from: 2019-01-11 Created: 2019-01-11 Last updated: 2019-04-01Bibliographically approved
Danielski, I., Weimer, K. & Krook, M. (2017). Atria: en design för hållbara bostäder i ett nordiskt klimat. In: Edith Andresen, Gustav Lidén, Sara Nyhlén (Ed.), Hållbarhetens många ansikten: samtal, forskning och fantasier (pp. 47-54). Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Atria: en design för hållbara bostäder i ett nordiskt klimat
2017 (Swedish)In: Hållbarhetens många ansikten: samtal, forskning och fantasier / [ed] Edith Andresen, Gustav Lidén, Sara Nyhlén, Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2017, p. 47-54Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2017
Series
Genusstudier vid Mittuniversitetet, ISSN 1654-5753 ; 13
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32297 (URN)978-91-88527-37-0 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-12-20
Danielski, I., Weimer, K. & Krook, M. (2017). Atrium in residential buildings – a design to enhance social sustainability in urban areas. In: Daniel Laven, Wilhelm Skoglund (Ed.), Valuing and Evaluating Creativity for Sustainable Regional Development: Design, sustainability and its impact on social community and cultural/creative development. Paper presented at VEC 2016 (pp. 153-155). Östersund: Mid Sweden University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Atrium in residential buildings – a design to enhance social sustainability in urban areas
2017 (English)In: Valuing and Evaluating Creativity for Sustainable Regional Development: Design, sustainability and its impact on social community and cultural/creative development / [ed] Daniel Laven, Wilhelm Skoglund, Östersund: Mid Sweden University , 2017, p. 153-155Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: Mid Sweden University, 2017
Keywords
social interactions, Residential buildings, Atrium, Nordic climates
National Category
Architectural Engineering Social Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32491 (URN)978-91-88527-26-4 (ISBN)
Conference
VEC 2016
Note

Sessions F1-6

Available from: 2017-12-18 Created: 2017-12-18 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
Weimer, K. (2017). Household energy reduction – content analysis of participators experiences of an intervention.: Underlying motivations of individual´s involvement in environmental behavior. In: : . Paper presented at International Conference on Environmental Psychology – IAPS 2017, 30 Aug- 1 Sep, Coruna, Spain.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Household energy reduction – content analysis of participators experiences of an intervention.: Underlying motivations of individual´s involvement in environmental behavior
2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

-Introduction:  Semi-structured interviews were carried out among households after participating in an intervention with motivation-increasing design and behavior focused techniques in order to change behavior towards a reduction of residential energy use. In the intervention differentiated energy use for daily domestic behaviors was monitored in real time via an internet-based system for a period of eight weeks by 25 residents. Modern feedback- and reinforcement strategies, based on learning psychology, were carried out in order to enhance motivation for change and follow-up studies analysed the maintenance of change for another 3 months.The present study will investigate and identify factors influencing the experience of persons participating in an intervention on behavior change towards energy conservation in households.     

-Theoretical background: Content analysis based on hermeneutic reasons was used to achieve an interpretive understanding of the meaning of the text with special attention to context and original purpose (Patton, 2002).

-Methods: Semi-structured interviews, lasting around 30 min, were conducted among eight households, three households in the experimental group and five in the control group, after participating in an intervention for reducing electricity consumption. The transcripts from the interviews were analyzed by means of qualitative content analysis as described by Graneheim and Lundman (2004). The method is based on classification and assessment of symbols and themes, categories and sub-categories, in a systematic and inductive way in order to point out the meaning of a written or verbal communication (Kvale, & Brinkman, 2014; Krippendorff, 2004).

-Results: The content analysis of the interview transcripts identified motivational factors and barriers as themes, explaining how change of residential energy behavior within an intervention was experienced. As motivational factors, promoting the willingness to reduce residential energy use, the participants stated expectations and interest, reduction of costs, visual feedback through the graphical display of energy use, advice on energy saving behaviors, specific feedback and increased awareness of behavior and energy. As barriers, explaining why the intervention did not reach the expected energy reduction, reasons stated were difficulties to understand the graphical display, uncertainty about the effects of behavior change, maintenance of old habits and difficulties to choose goals for change.

-Conclusions: Future energy policies and interventions should consider the found motivational- and barrier factors in order to be successful in promoting behavior change towards a reduction of energy consumption in households.   

Keywords
content analysis; intervention; motivation and barriers for change
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32669 (URN)
Conference
International Conference on Environmental Psychology – IAPS 2017, 30 Aug- 1 Sep, Coruna, Spain
Available from: 2018-01-12 Created: 2018-01-12 Last updated: 2018-01-15Bibliographically approved
Weimer, K., Richard, A., Lisspers, J. & Lipsanen, J. (2017). Values, attitudes, moral judgment competence, locus of control and sense of coherence as determinants of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions. Journal of Multidisciplinary Engineering Science and Technology, 4(5), 2568-2583
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Values, attitudes, moral judgment competence, locus of control and sense of coherence as determinants of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions
2017 (English)In: Journal of Multidisciplinary Engineering Science and Technology, ISSN 2458-9403, Vol. 4, no 5, p. 2568-2583Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Based on a survey completed by 463 residents in two Swedish cities, the predictive power of value orientations, awareness of consequences, environmental concern, moral judgment competence, locus of control and sense of coherence were examined on eight types of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions. The best fitting causal model confirms partly the hypothetical model. Values indirect and direct affect pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions with awareness of consequences and environmental concern as intermediate or transmitting variables. Neither pro-environmental behaviors nor behavioral intentions are affected by awareness of consequences, environmental concern, locus of control, moral judgment competence or sense of coherence. The need of more environmentally specific measures of the predictors in relation to specific behaviors is discussed.

Keywords
values;environmental concern; moral judgment competence; locus of control;sense of coherence; pro-environmental behavior and pro-environmental intention
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32357 (URN)
Available from: 2017-12-09 Created: 2017-12-09 Last updated: 2019-04-01Bibliographically approved
Weimer, K. (2015). Value orientations, environmental concern, and locus of control, moral judgment competence and sense of coherence as determinants of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions.. In: : . Paper presented at 11th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, Groningen, Netherlands, 24-26 August, 2015.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Value orientations, environmental concern, and locus of control, moral judgment competence and sense of coherence as determinants of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The predictive power of value orientations, awareness of consequences, environmental concern, locus of control, moral judgment competence and sense of coherence on eight types of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions (i.e. residential energy conservation, food consumption, transportation, and recycling) were examined based on a survey completed by 463 residents in two Swedish cities. Multiple regression analyses confirmed values, awareness of consequences and environmental concern as determinants of environmental friendly behaviors and behavioral intentions, as well as sense of coherence was a determinant of pro-environmental behaviors. Locus of control and moral judgment competence showed no predictive power on neither pro-environmental behaviors or on behavioral intentions, and sense of coherence did not predict behavioral intentions. The need of more environmentally specific measures of the predictors in relation to specific behaviors was discussed. 

 

National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32668 (URN)
Conference
11th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, Groningen, Netherlands, 24-26 August, 2015
Available from: 2018-01-12 Created: 2018-01-12 Last updated: 2018-01-15Bibliographically approved
Boethius, G., Landahl, M., Lisspers, J. & Weimer, K. (2006). Operation tobacco-free: Offering pre-operative tobacco cessation support to patients a in county-scale projekt - Feasibility aspects. In: The 13th World Conference on Tobacco and Health: July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operation tobacco-free: Offering pre-operative tobacco cessation support to patients a in county-scale projekt - Feasibility aspects
2006 (English)In: The 13th World Conference on Tobacco and Health: July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, 2006Conference paper, Published paper (Other scientific)
National Category
Psychology Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-4906 (URN)4153 (Local ID)4153 (Archive number)4153 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2008-09-30Bibliographically approved
Boëthius, G., Lisspers, J. & Weimer, K. (2005). Operation Tobaksfri: Avvänjningsstöd till patienter som ska genomgå operation. : Folkhälsoinstitutet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operation Tobaksfri: Avvänjningsstöd till patienter som ska genomgå operation
2005 (Swedish)Report (Other scientific)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Folkhälsoinstitutet, 2005
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-997 (URN)3967 (Local ID)3967 (Archive number)3967 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2008-09-30Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-6856-1555

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