Why young people do things for the environment: The role of parenting for adolescents' motivation to engage in pro-environmental behaviour
Abstract It is well documented that parents' behaviour and family norms exert a significant influence on young people's pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour. But what is the role of parenting styles in this connection? The present study addresses this question based on a matched sample of young people aged 18–20 (n = 448) and one parent (n = 448), each completing an online questionnaire that included the Motivation Toward the Environment Scale, Perception of Parenting Styles Scale, and questions about perceived (by youth) parental and self-reported (by youth and parent) pro-environmental behaviours. We find that young people display less internalized motivation to ‘do things for the environment’ than their parents, but that their motivation to act in pro-environmental ways is rooted in family descriptive norms, parents' internalized motivation to act pro-environmentally, and the autonomy-supporting parenting style and structure prevalent in the home. Highlights The focus is on parenting and adolescents' pro-environmental motivation. Adolescents' pro-environmental behaviour relates to their internalized motivation. Adolescents display less internalized motivation than their parents. Family norms, parents' motivation, parenting style and structure are important. The importance of ‘parenting for sustainability’ is highlighted.
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