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

B. Bloodhart, J. Swim, and M. Zawadzki

Sustainability: Science Practice and Policy (18 April 2013)

DOI: 10.3390/su5041661

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.

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