Explaining Proenvironmental Intention and Behavior by Personal Norms and the Theory of Planned Behavior1


  • 1

    The authors would like to thank Tony Manstead, Bas Verplanken, and two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Paul Harland, Centre for Energy and Environmental Research, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands, e-mail: harland@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.


The value of personal norms (Schwartz, 1977) for proenvironmental behavior has been demonstrated in previous studies (e.g., Vining & Ebreo, 1992), but not in addition to the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen & Madden, 1986). In the present study, this combination was investigated by means of a mail survey among a sample of 305 Dutch citizens who were enlisted to participate in a behavioral change intervention program on environmentally relevant behavior. Personal norms appear to increase the proportion of explained variance in 5 intentions and 4 self-reported measures of performed environmentally relevant behaviors beyond that explained by three of the theory of planned behavior constructs (i.e., attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control). Issues evoked by these results are discussed.