To read this content please select one of the options below:

Nourish what you own: psychological ownership, materialism and pro-environmental behavioral intentions

Reto Felix (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas, USA)
Jacob Almaguer (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 23 January 2019

Issue publication date: 8 February 2019




Researchers have become increasingly interested in the construct of psychological ownership in recent years. The purpose of this paper is to extend the target of psychological ownership to planet Earth as a whole and investigate its relationship with materialism and pro-environmental behavioral intentions.


The paper is based on a survey with 236 college students from a public university in the Southeast of the USA. The model fit from a confirmatory factor analysis is very satisfactory. Mediation of psychological ownership for the planet is formally tested using structural equation modeling (SEM) and Hayes’ (2013) macro for SPSS.


The findings of this paper support the expectation that both the individual (my planet) and the collective-oriented dimensions (our planet) of individual-level psychological ownership are positively related to recycling intentions and the intention to purchase green products. Further, formal mediation tests show that psychological ownership for my planet, but not for our planet, mediates the relationship between material values and pro-environmental behaviors.

Practical implications

Companies that aim to gain competitive advantage through green citizenship can highlight the individual or shared ownership of the planet to align the political agenda of government officials with their company mission, vision and brand positioning.


The current paper contributes to the emerging body of literature on psychological ownership by extending its target to planet Earth as a whole. It is the first paper to explain the previously observed negative relationship between materialism and pro-environmental behaviors through the mechanism of psychological ownership.



Felix, R. and Almaguer, J. (2019), "Nourish what you own: psychological ownership, materialism and pro-environmental behavioral intentions", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 82-91.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles