Delving deeper: Exploring the influence of psycho-social wellness on water conservation behavior

J Environ Manage. 2020 Jun 15;264:110404. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110404. Epub 2020 Mar 30.


Public and nonprofit organizations are at the forefront of water scarcity issues using nonformal educational programs to drive behavior change towards water conservation. The efficacy of educational endeavors hinge on designing and delivering programs with considerations of the factors that will change relevant decisions and behaviors among residential landscape water users. The purpose of this study was to explore the concept of wellness and well-being, and its relationship to engagement in water conservation behaviors. To guide this evaluation, we integrated the theory of planned behavior with relevant tenets of cognitive and social psychology and included the psycho-social constructs of stress, perceived happiness and well-being. We conducted correlational and regression analyses to assess potential relationships. Overall, the results of the study show that each of the three different psycho-social measures behave differently with regards to current and future residential landscape water conservation behaviors. The models show that perceptions of well-being is the more consistent predictor for both current and future behaviors. Perceived happiness only served as a significant predictor for current behaviors. Stress simply demonstrated correlational relationships with current and future behaviors, not serving as a significant predictor. We suggest exploring the possibility of pairing and embedding educational programs focused on personal and family well-being with educational programs focused on environmental behavior. When we consider water conservation behavior as a function of more than knowledge and motivation, we can broaden our understanding of this behavior as a socially embedded experience.

Keywords: Conservation psychology; Perceived happiness; Practice adoption; Stress; Well-being; Wellness.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Water Resources*
  • Motivation
  • Social Behavior