Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





collective action, efficacy, proenvironmental behavior, social norms, theory of planned behavior, values


Kwantes, Catherine




An effective climate action strategy requires rapid reduction of consumption at both the individual and aggregate levels. The present paper proposes a social model of environmental action (SMEA) based on both individual and collective behavioural theories currently used to explain pro-environmental behaviour. A survey was conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk (N=485) to examine Americans’ cultural worldviews, values, beliefs, norms, and self-reported pro-environmental behaviours. The proposed model was partially supported: social dominance orientation, self-transcendence values, and injunctive and descriptive norms influenced pro-environmental behaviour indirectly via individual and group efficacy beliefs. In addition, it was found that social norms also influence behaviours directly. Contrary to the hypotheses, self-construals were not related to efficacy beliefs or pro-environmental behaviour. Overall the SMEA had adequate model fit and explained more variance than the three other models (valuesbeliefs- norms, theory of planned behaviour, and social identity model of collective action). This model has implications for addressing climate change as a collective action problem, which encourages individuals to think of collective, rather than individually based solutions. The model has potential to apply across cultures as it accounts for social factors in addition to personal values, and uses a broader conceptualization of what is considered pro-environmental behaviour.