Do authentic people care about the environment? A view from two paradigms
Background. Personal authenticity, as the ability to be true to oneself, is traditionally studied in the perspective of its protective role for the individual, and is only beginning to be studied in relation to the surrounding world. In this study, it is suggested that authentic people may be more environmentally aware and concerned. The theoretical foundations were: person-centered approach, subject psychology, and the modern research of pro-environmental behavior.
Objective. We explored the links between authenticity and pro-environmental behavior within two ways of conceptualizing authenticity – person-centered and subject psychology, and also examined whether these connections are gender-related.
Design. 430 Russian students (Mage = 19.19; SDage = 1.22; 79.5% women) participated in the study. Authenticity was measured both by the revised Russian version of the Authenticity Scale, and a new tool, the Moscow Authenticity Scale, developed on the basis of subject psychology. To measure pro-environmental behavior, we created a new instrument, the Ecological Lifestyle Scale, comprising Social Activities and Ecological Self-restraint subscales.
Results. We present two new scales, the Moscow Authenticity Scale and the Ecological Lifestyle Scale, along with a modification of the Authenticity scale. It is found that women are more likely to exercise pro-environmental behavior than men; however, connections between personal authenticity and pro-environmental behavior are stronger in the male group. Authenticity, considered within the frame of subject psychology, better nuances the relations between personal authenticity and pro-environmental behavior than the person-centered model does.
Conclusion. Authenticity is associated with pro-environmental behavior, but does not predict it accurately enough. Future research of moderating or mediating variables is suggested.