Values, Pro-environmental Behaviour and Stress Appraisals of Anthropogenic Environmental Degradation
Anthropogenic environmental degradation is a major global threat to both natural and human systems. There is an emerging literature that suggests related psychological distress may lead to significant mental health outcomes. Using the cognitive theory of stress, pro-environmental behaviour can be proposed as a coping response to stress appraisals around anthropogenic environmental degradation. Pro-environmental behaviour may be motivated by many personal and social factors. In particular, value orientations (egoistic, altruistic and biospheric) may be a key factor in influencing pro-environmental behaviour. To date, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the relationships between these variables. This current study aimed to determine how values orientations, pro-environmental behaviour and stress appraisals of anthropogenic environmental degradation are related, in a sample of adults in New Zealand. Using a quantitative, survey study design, data was gathered from 205 participants. Analyses found that demographic factors such as age and gender influenced pro-environmental behaviour and certain components of stress appraisal. Biospheric value orientation, egoistic value orientation and centrality appraisals of anthropogenic environmental degradation emerged as significant predictors of pro-environmental behaviour, highlighting the importance of value orientation and aspects of primary appraisal in influencing pro-environmental behaviour. It was also found that values in general, have little influence over stress appraisal processes around anthropogenic environmental degradation, though they still may have a small influence on certain aspects of primary appraisal. The findings suggest that though values may have an important influence on pro-environmental behaviours, they may not necessarily have an important impact on the perceptions of stress around anthropogenic environmental degradation. Limitations and suggested future directions for research are discussed.