The effect of social comparison on environmental concern and how age moderates this effect
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Rapid climate changes and the aim to ensure a healthy and liveable environment for our future generation asks for the enhancement of people’s sustainable behavior. Saving electricity is an important part of sustainable development nowadays. Enzler, Diekmann & Liebe (2019) found that environmental concern significantly predicts less electricity consumption. This highlights the importance of psychological factors in the development of sustainable behavior. The present research aims to investigate factors that influence environmental concern, specifically by testing if different degrees of social comparison influence environmental concern and if age moderates this relationship. Hardly any research has been done about the effect of social comparison on environmental concern, and the moderating effect of age. Relevant results could be an interesting addition to existing literature, since they might show an important influencing factor for environmental concern, and they may provide information about which age groups this applies to. This might be useful information for the development of sustainable behavior as well. Data of Enzler, Diekmann & Liebe (2019) is used in order to test the expected effects. 10.000 Swiss citizens were invited for their survey, 1392 people participated, which totals a response rate of 14 percent. Results of the analysis (N = 1262) show evidence that social comparison does have a positive effect on environmental concern. Besides, they show that the older people are, the less important the effect of social comparison seems to be for their environmental concern, which therefore supports the expected moderator effect. However, the average age of the respondents included in the dataset was high (64 years), which leads to the question whether this moderating effect holds for the whole range of age groups.