Green behavior, green self-image, and subjective well-being: Separating affective and cognitive relationships
Heinz Welsch, Martin Binder, Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg
Green lifestyles – understood as encompassing both pro-environmental behaviors and green self-image – have been shown to be positively associated with subjective well-being, but the pertinent literature pays little attention to the difference between “cognitive” and “affective” well-being. Using UK panel data and drawing on the mediator model of life satisfaction, we show that the relationship between pro-environmental behavior and life satisfaction relies mostly on the affective channel, which mediates the behavior-satisfaction relationship. The often-found association between green behavior and life satisfaction seems thus to be driven by a positive contribution to affect, which the individual – in turn - uses as one element of her cognitive life evaluation. Green self-image, on the other hand, is directly related to life satisfaction and this relationship is not mediated strongly by affect. We interpret these findings with regard to the (affective) “warm glow” of acting pro-socially for green behavior, whereas green self-image is predominantly a cognitive-evaluative construct.