This paper reports a study of mental prerequisites for the development of a sustainable con-sumption pattern. Based on cognitive dissonance theory it is hypothesized that when two environmentally relevant activities are perceived as similar, (H1) behaving in an environ-mentally responsible way in one of the two cases increases the propensity to behave in an environmentally responsible way in the other as well, and (H2) that this "spillover effect" depends on how morally important behaving in an environment-responsible way is. Both hypotheses are confirmed with some qualifications. The most important policy implications are that the promotion of a sustainable consumption pattern can be facilitated by building an understanding among consumers of the common perspective (i.e., of the similarity) of behaving in an environmentally responsible way in different domains as well as by promoting the personal normative significance of behaving in an environmentally responsible way.
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The Second International Symposium on Sustainable Household Consumption: Household metabolism - From concept to application, 1999