Unearthing the "green" personality: Core traits predict environmentally friendly behavior

Cameron Brick, Gary Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors show substantial individual differences, and exploring their predictors can help reveal the origins of pro-environmental behavior. Basic personality traits may provide a partial explanation, but it is unclear which personality traits are reliably associated with pro-environmental behaviors. This article uses a specific type of environmental behavior, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to clarify which personality correlates are most robustly associated with behavior, and to test mediation of those effects through attitudes. A large (N = 345) sample of United States adults representative in age, gender, and ethnicity completed the 100-item HEXACO personality inventory, a novel self-report measure of behaviors that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and scales of environmental and political attitudes. Accounting for demographics, emissions-reducing behaviors were most strongly predicted by Openness, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion, and these effects of personality were mediated by attitudes toward the natural environment. These observations broaden the understanding of the etiology of environmental attitudes and behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-658
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date15 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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