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Generativity and self-enhancement values in eco-friendly behavioral intentions and environmentally responsible consumption behavior



During the past 35 years, academic researchers have been examining the relationship between environmentally responsible consumption behavior and numerous antecedent variables. Because sustainability requires a long-term perspective, the study included generativity, a construct developed by Erikson (1950) and self-enhancement values (Schwartz, 1994) as antecedent variables for environmentally responsible consumption behavior. Generativity refers to individuals' beliefs that their current behavior has consequences that extend into future generations, while self-enhancement refers to values relating to power, wealth, and influence. These variables are related in that generativity requires consideration of others while self-enhancement generally refers to considering only one's self. This suggests that individuals high on generativity ought to be more aware of and concerned about the environment and should modify their behavior accordingly, and those who are high on self-enhancement should be less concerned or willing to change behavior. The results of the study, including French and American respondents, indicate that individuals who score high on generativity are more likely to have eco-friendly intentions and more environmentally responsible consumption behaviors, but generativity interacts with self-enhancement, resulting in an interpretation that is different from that typically found in environmentally related studies. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.