Towards a Broader Understanding of Sustainable Consumption: Applying Psychological Insights for Evidence-Based Interventions

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Open Access logo originally created by the Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Title: Towards a Broader Understanding of Sustainable Consumption: Applying Psychological Insights for Evidence-Based Interventions
Authors: Betzler, Shirin
ORCID of the author:
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Karsten Müller
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Maarten van Zalk
Abstract: To solve the global crises related to climate change, joint global efforts of multiple stakeholders, including politics, the private sector, and individuals, are needed. On an individual level, current unsustainable consumption patterns have been linked to a myriad of environmental and social sustainability challenges, making the consumer a key actor in the sustainability transition. Thus, it is important to understand what drives individuals to act sustainably and how these drivers can be targeted to promote sustainable consumption. The present research aims to address this need by identifying key influences on sustainable consumption in different domains and proposes an evidence-based educational intervention to promote sustainable consumption. Three different papers, encompassing five studies using correlational survey, experimental and longitudinal methods, are included. First, psychological determinants from different research streams are integrated as predictors of sustainable consumption. Paper 1 finds knowledge-based, value-based, emotional and rational determinants to be generally predictive for sustainable consumption behavior of mobile phones, food, and fashion, with product-specific patterns emerging. Second, emotional processes are further examined as external antecedents of selected knowledge-based and rational determinants. Specifically, results of paper 2 highlight the importance of negative emotion-evoking photographic material in combination with a text appeal to raise problem awareness for the sustainability challenges of mobile phone consumption. Third, insights are applied in an educational intervention and evaluated in a field experiment in a school. Paper 3 indicates the long-term effectiveness of an experiential training intervention on knowledge-based, emotional, rational, and behavioral sustainable consumption outcomes. Overall, the appended studies contribute to identifying effective leverage points to promote sustainable consumption. This offers valuable scientific insights for designing evidence-based interventions, such as in education or marketing, and will be of significant interest to both researchers and policymakers.
Subject Keywords: sustainable consumption; psychological determinants; emotion-evoking photographic material; evidence-based intervention
Issue Date: 14-Feb-2024
License name: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Germany
License url:
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
thesis_betzler.pdfPräsentationsformat1,19 MBAdobe PDF

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons