Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Amanda R. Carrico

Second Advisor

Leaf Van Boven

Third Advisor

Maxwell Boykoff


A person’s pro-environmental identity is thought to mediate the link between her initial and subsequent pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs). However, the effect of labeling individuals as pro-environmental or not on subsequent behaviors is unknown. This research seeks to identify how confirming or disconfirming a person’s environmental identity influences subsequent PEBs. After gathering information about the strength of participants’ environmental identities, a pseudo-consumer opinions task was used to provide each participant with a label of either “green” or “non-green” that was either consistent or inconsistent with that identity. Participants were then presented with an opportunity to engage in a subsequent PEB. “Green” labels did not decrease the likelihood of PEBs for any individuals, while “non-green” labels decreased this likelihood for moderate and weak identifiers. Thus, pro-environmental labels should be used more widely as they do not reduce subsequent PEBs while non-environmental labels should be avoided because they do not encourage subsequent PEBs.