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Recycling as a planned behavior: the moderating role of perceived behavioral control

Abstract

This study examines the effectiveness of a public service announcement (PSA) video designed based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) in motivating people to engage in proper recycling. Based on a representative sample of New York State residents (N = 707), survey results show that all three TPB variables are significant predictors of recycling intention. The PSA video increases recycling intention through attitude, but this mediated relationship is only significant among individuals with low perceived behavioral control. In terms of practical implication, these results suggest that environmental campaigns using a video format may be particularly effective among audiences who perceive low self-efficacy in recycling. Theoretically, this moderated mediation effect suggests that future research based on the theory of planned behavior should not only examine the main effect of each predicting variable, but also assess the role of perceived behavior control as a moderating factor.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Exploratory factor analysis showed that all seven items loaded on the same factor (KMO = .88, Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity = 2570.73, p < .001). Confirmatory factor analysis also showed that a one-factor model provided the best fit to the data (χ2 = 36.73, df = 10, χ2/df = 3.67, RMSEA = 0.06, 90% CI: [0.04, 0.08], CFI = 0.99, TLI = 0.98, SRMR = 0.02).

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank New York’s Environmental Protection Fund, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), and the Institute for Research and Education in Energy, Environment and Water (RENEW) at the University at Buffalo (UB) for support. The authors acknowledge useful discussions with Dr. Amit Goyal at the RENEW Institute, Erin Moscati at UB Office of Sustainability, and Amy Bloomfield as well as Terry Laibach at NYDEC. The work was supported by a grant from NYDEC to the RENEW Institute, University at Buffalo, under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) AMI 1642.

Funding

The work was supported by a grant from New York Department of Environmental Conservation to the Institute for Research and Education in Energy, Environment and Water, University at Buffalo, under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) AMI 1642.

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ZL contributed to writing—original draft, conceptualization, and methodology. JZY contributed to writing—reviewing and editing, methodology, and supervision. SSC performed writing—reviewing and editing. MAS administered the project.

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Correspondence to Zhuling Liu.

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Liu, Z., Yang, J.Z., Clark, S.S. et al. Recycling as a planned behavior: the moderating role of perceived behavioral control. Environ Dev Sustain (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-021-01894-z

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Keywords

  • Recycling
  • Attitude
  • Perceived behavioral control
  • PSA video
  • Environmental campaigns