The Dissociative Experience: Mediating the Tension Between People's Awareness of Environmental Problems and Their Inadequate Behavioral Responses

Rodolfo Sapiains, Robert Beeton, Iain WALKER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Growing environmental awareness clashes with consumerism and economic dependence on non-sustainable lifestyles. Individuals experience this conflict when they make decisions on a day-to-day basis. We suggest that to deal with such a tension people simultaneously maintain conflicting positions. The psychological mechanism of dissociation lies at the heart of this contradiction. In this study, people separate their concern for the environment from their non-sustainable practices. We empirically explore this framework and the consequences of it on both the perception of the problem and the implementation of solutions. Results suggest proenvironmental actions come from internal psychological demands for emotional stability rather than from any understanding of environmental issues, resulting in poor, inadequate, and insufficient environmental responses. Our insights suggest that a strategy for reconnecting people and their lifestyles with the environment is the basis for effective change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalEcopsychology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

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