Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Is Behaving Sustainably Related to Subjective Well-Being?
Author Affiliations
  • Ithaca College
  • Ithaca College
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Is Behaving Sustainably Related to Subjective Well-Being?
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505130. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO3026
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505130. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO3026
Abstract

Date Presented 4/8/2016

Occupational therapists are focused on the promotion of client well-being. This research relates sustainable behaviors as meaningful occupation to health, well-being, and participation in life. Incorporating sustainable activities in our practice may yield psychological benefits for clients.

Primary Author and Speaker: Shawna Jordon

Additional Author and Speaker: Carole Dennis

Contributing Author: Srijana Bajrachrya

RESEARCH QUESTION: Is there a significant positive association between sustainable behaviors (SBs) and subjective well-being (SWB)?
RATIONALE: It is becoming increasingly apparent that negative environmental impacts of human occupation are presenting major challenges to global human health and well-being. Scientists tell us that in order to provide solutions to environmental problems created by past, present, and future human populations, humans must adopt SBs. However, many view living sustainably as requiring difficult changes in behavior that people may not embrace.
Nevertheless, researchers from other countries who have studied adolescents and college-age students have proposed that there are possible psychological impacts from engaging in SBs, such as increased life satisfaction, happiness, and well-being. This research investigates whether SBs are associated with SWB in a sample of adults in the United States.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey; data were gathered through an anonymous emailed survey.
PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred two faculty and staff from a college in central New York, ages 18 yr or older; email addresses gathered through staff directory
METHOD: SBs are collectively referred to as individual behaviors that limit the negative effects of environmental threats, maintain the ecosystem's integrity, and promote ecological sustainability. This behavior considers future implications of everyday actions on the environment and promotes a balance between meeting the needs of the present generation while still ensuring that the needs of future generations will be met.
SBs are defined as including pro-ecological, frugal, altruistic, and equitable action, which were measured with four scales adapted from Corral-Verdugo et al. SB considers future implications of everyday actions on the environment and promotes a balance between meeting the needs of the present generation, while still ensuring that the needs of future generations will be met.
SWB consists of three domains: life satisfaction, happiness, and affect. This was measured using the Satisfaction With Life Scale, the Scale of Positive and Negative Experience, and the Subjective Happiness Scale.
ANALYSIS: A hypothesized model was created to assess the relationship between the four components of sustainable behaviors—pro-ecological, frugal, altruistic, and equitable actions—and the three domains of SWB—affect, happiness, and life satisfaction.
Survey data were then applied to the model. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to determine whether the hypothesized theoretical model created was consistent with the data collected.
RESULTS: After statistical analysis, the data fit the model based on the criteria needed, indicating that the data from the surveys supports the hypothesized model. The results indicate that the four components of SBs significantly converged on the three domains of SWB, revealing a significant association between SB and SWB. It can be assumed that the more pro-ecological, altruistic, frugal, and equitable a person is, the more feelings of well-being he or she will experience. The model indicates that 6.5% of a person's SWB is predicted by SB.
DISCUSSION: This positive relationship between SWB and SB may exist because of the intrinsically satisfying nature of participating in ecologically sustainable behaviors. This study supports the concept that sustainability is not only beneficial for the planet, but can also positively affect humans' overall well-being.
IMPACT STATEMENT: People’s pursuit of happiness has led to environmental destruction and climate change. Promoting SBs in ourselves and our clients has the potential to foster personal well-being without exploiting the social, environmental, and economic needs of present and future generations.