The role of spillover phenomena in transition of responsible environmental behavior from home to public sphere

Document Type : Research Paper


university of tabriz


Study of environmental behavior and the factors affecting it, is one of the most fundamental issues of interest to researchers in the interdisciplinary fields including environmental field. In this regard, the basic objective of this paper is to study of environmental behavior spillover. One of the determinant factors of forming behavior in the field of environment is “place”. Individuals’ Place preferences have special results and could be studied by environment researchers. Emotional effects of places such as home, neighborhood and city develop symbolic relationship between individuals and place and it influences on attitude and social behavior. Attachment to home and the sense of belonging to home creates impetus to renew home environment and forms the effective behaviors in it, such as consumption, buying and using household and personal staffs. Furthermore, it is assumed that environmental attitudes and behaviors formed in the home, no longer confined and finally spillover to other aspects of citizen’s life.
Realm of the study is Tabriz. The extent of Tabriz, population density, mass consumption, mass production of garbage, various and unstable lifestyles of citizens, besides existence of natural, structural and cultural limitations in making of sustainable lifestyle and environmental responsible behavior, has made this city to appropriate case of environmental studies.
This article surveys the linear relationship between attachment to home, responsible environmental behavior in home and responsible environmental behavior in public sphere. The basic question of this paper is:
- Is it possible to overflow a responsible environmental behavior of the private sphere (home) to the public domain? If yes, to what extent is the role of place attachment?

Materials & Methods
About theoretical framework in this paper we used Low and Altman approach dealing with place attachment; they believe that attachment to a special place such as home or city increase probability of engaging individuals with responsible environmental behavior in that places. Furthermore, supporting theory of the creative idea of this research is cognitive dissonance theory from psychology. New idea of us is possibility of spillover of responsible behavior from a favorite place of individuals (like home) to other places in routine life. Finally, with respect to theoretical framework, our hypothesis as follows:
- Attachment to home increase responsible environmental behavior in home.
- Dependence to home increase responsible environmental behavior in home.
- Forming identity on the basis of home increase responsible environmental behavior in home.
- Repeat of responsible environmental behavior in home causes behavior spillover to other areas of individual’s life.
Methodologically, this paper is extensive study and in terms of time is sectional one. Also, Type of This research is an applied one and method of study is Survey. We have used questionnaire as a technique of gathering data. Statistical society is 15 to 75 years old citizens of Tabriz and the sample size is 442 that were selected by cluster sampling. In questionnaire used in this research several scales have been applied for measuring all of the dependent and independent variables. Stern scale (2000) and Milfont and Dukitt scale (2010) were applied in this questionnaire for measurement of responsible environmental behavior in public sphere and responsible environmental behavior in home. Place attachment is a new, complicated and multidimensional concept in social science especially used in urban sociology and urban planning. But few studies have attempted to define it operationally. So we created a new scale for it with combining and summarizing 4 scales and then assessed validity and reliability of them. Two dimensions of place attachment is place dependence and place identity and each of them have two indicators. Validity of questionnaire was checked with confirmatory factor analysis and reliability of that was checked with cronbach’s alpha. For analyzing data we have used SPSS software. Also, we applied structural equation modeling (SEM) with LISREL software to explore real multivariate relationships because of existence of errors and covariance between indices. Furthermore, goodness of fit statistics was calculated with this software.

Discussion of Results & Conclusions
Findings show that attachment of citizens to their home is 5.05(85 percent). Average score of responsible environmental behavior in home and public sphere respectively are 77 and 73 percent. Also, the result of SEM shows that direct relationship between attachment to home, responsible environmental behavior in home and then responsible environmental behavior in public sphere that was assumed in theoretical section is confirmed. Goodness of fit indices in this paper is CFI, AGFI, GFI, RMSEA and Chi-square. These factors show appropriate results about research structural model. So, the model presented in findings section has a hopeful fitness with our data.
Over the past few decades, the spillover hypothesis gained broad attention being object of a large literature and an increasing number of empirical investigations. Yet it is still far from clear why or how spillover effects occur and whether they are due primarily to contextual factors or individual motivations. Studies have focused on a wide set of possible drivers, ranging from environmental values to social norms, from behaviors´ similarities to their ease and costs, and so on. This research add place attachment concept to studying relationships among behaviors in different contexts. Attachment to home effects on repeating of behaviors and maybe creates habits that impact individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. That is, such individuals could be expected to be more flexible and prone to changing their behavioral intentions. On the other hand, individuals for whom recycling is already a habitudinal activity in their home might experience only minor and incremental increases in their intention to recycle in other areas.
This study proposes that human behavior –attitude, values and norm –are a function of the environment they are in. This includes home environment, where people do spend more than half of their active living time interacting and being influenced by it. We cannot categorize a person according to his geographical where -about –having one personality (active attitude, values and norms) at home, and later switch on to another personality while somewhere else. Having dual and conflicting personalities –is always a cause for an uneasy feeling within a person. The natural need to avoid this uneasy feeling is Spillover of responsible environment behavior. This phenomenon is rooted within well-established social-psychological theories, where people are expected to have a strong desire to be consistent in their attitudes, beliefs, words, and behaviors in several areas in their life. But these results have limitations; findings show that some behaviors spillover easier than the other and this is related to how much time or money require to behaviors.
The low-cost hypothesis suggests that environmental concern (triggered in our case by spillover effects) has stronger effects in situations and under conditions connected with low costs and little inconvenience for individual actors. For example, in the domain of energy consumption inexpensive and easy to perform actions such as switching off lights are easier to be spillover to other areas of life.
According to the so -called Campbell paradigm, broad goals such as the protection of the environment can be pursued by means of a wide range of interrelated behaviors, with different degrees of financial, physical and psychological costs. Individuals motivated to attain a specific goal tend to implement easy behaviors towards that goal first, compared to more costly and inconvenient behaviors connected to the same goal.
Also, my interpretation of the results adopts a dynamic perspective, considering positive spillover a process that builds over time, trespassing the static boundaries of a snapshot on individual intentions and behaviors. Since most everyday behaviors tend to be pretty stable over time, one should not expect radical changes to develop over the short time. However, it is possible that this foot-in-the-door approach might eventually push people to adopt even more relevant behavioral changes, consistently with the broad goal of preserving the environment.


Main Subjects