Predictors of recycling behavior: the role of self-conscious emotions
Article publication date: 20 May 2021
Issue publication date: 26 July 2021
The purpose of this study is to develop a model that integrates self-conscious emotions (i.e. anticipated guilt and anticipated pride) alongside the theory of planned behavior’s key explanatory factors to challenge the idea that recycling behavior is driven mainly by cognitive factors. The model is empirically validated in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a region where research are lacking despite generating one of the highest per capita solid waste and holding one of the lowest recycling rates.
The data was collected from the general public in the UAE using a two-wave survey (n = 287). The first wave of data collection measured the constructs except for the actual recycling behavior. The second wave assessed the respondent’s self-reported recycling behavior for the previous fortnight.
Anticipated guilt, subjective norms, perceived effort and recycling knowledge are the main drivers of the intention to recycle. The latter impacts the actual recycling behavior positively. Attitude toward recycling and anticipated pride failed to predict the intention to recycle. Awareness of consequences triggers only anticipated pride, while the degree of concern is a significant predictor of both anticipated pride and guilt.
One key implication of this research is that governments in the Middle East have not only to focus on cognitive factors but also emotions to promote recycling behavior.
This study adds to the pro-environmental literature by showing that the decision to recycle is not only based on cognitive factors but also anticipated guilt. It is also one of the first that explore recycling behavior in the UAE.
The authors are grateful for Bee’ah for their help in collecting the data.
Haj-Salem, N. and Al-Hawari, M.A. (2021), "Predictors of recycling behavior: the role of self-conscious emotions", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 204-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-06-2020-0110
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