Towards a pro-environmental behavior: A test of the VBN-theory in Denmark

Simon Dec Pedersen

Student thesis: Bachelor project



In this bachelor thesis I have investigated which social psychological mechanisms that contribute to explain the variance in the motivation of pro- environmental behavior of Danish citizens. Furthermore, I have tested if Framing have a significant effect on these mechanisms and thus increases the motivation for pro-environmental actions.
In the thesis I draw upon the framework of the Value, Belief, Norm theory (VBN) created by Paul C. Stern. The theory postulates, that individuals whom orientate towards altruistic and biospheric values will show concerns about the environment, which will lead to an awareness about climate change posing a threat towards society, and if the individual also believes that it is possible to adverse the negative consequences of climate change, it will activate a feeling of moral obligation to act, which will lead to the motivation of pro-environmental behavior. Furthermore, I draw upon the existing literature on Framing effects on individuals, where Framing in that context should be understood as a process where individuals form their opinion based on how information is presented to them.
I have chosen to investigate the topic from a quantitative perspective, by using an online survey and I have collected a convenience sample, by using the “the snowball technique”, consisting of 1353 diverse respondents. This means that by sample is not representative of the population being studied. However, I argue that the research findings are still generalizable, because other studies within the same problem area, have come across similar research findings.
In the thesis I found that the variables of the VBN-theory can account for 61,7% of the variance in the respondents’ motivation to adopt a pro-environmental behavior. Yet, the study also found that altruistic values do not have a significant effect on the respondents’ motivation. In the last part of the analysis the study found that Framing has no significant effect on the respondents’’ motivation to adopt a pro-environmental behaviour.
In conclusion, the thesis hence contributes to the existing literature of environmental psychology by identifying some of the social psychological mechanisms that contribute to form Danish citizens’ motivation to adopt a pro-environmental behavior.

EducationsTekSam - Technological and Socio-Economic Planning, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Bachelor
Publication date26 May 2019
Number of pages48
SupervisorsHannah Villadsen