A journal article by Heather Barnes Truelove, Kam Leung Yeung, Amanda R. Carrico, Ashley J. Gillis, and Kaitlin Toner Raimi, "From plastic bottle recycling to policy support: An experimental test of pro-environmental spillover," was published in the June 2016 edition of the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Little research has investigated the extent to which performance of one pro-environmental behavior (PEB) spills over to increase or decrease support for pro-environmental policies or the mechanisms underlying spillover effects. In this study, 283 U.S. university students were randomly assigned via situational manipulations to either recycle a water bottle, throw the bottle in the trash, or a control condition. All participants then completed surveys assessing environmental identity, guilt, and environmental worry, as well as support for a pro-environmental campus green fund. Results showed evidence for negative spillover among Democrats only, which was mediated by environmental identity: Democrats who recycled the water bottle had lower environmental identities and were less supportive of the green fund than those in the control condition. Neither Republicans nor Independents displayed spillover. The results have implications for those interested in increasing small, easy PEBs in hopes of gaining future support for environmental policies.
To learn more, read "From plastic bottle recycling to policy support: An experimental test of pro-environmental spillover." For questions, contact Kaitlin Toner Raimi.