Understanding Environmental Decision Making

The Association Between Stages of Decision Making and Decisional Conflict


As research highlights the impact that climate change has on individual and planetary health, people might consider whether and how to reduce their ecological footprint, e.g., by engaging in pro-environmental behaviours (PEBs). However, the decision to engage in these behaviours might depend on how far along they are in the process of deciding to act pro-environmentally (i.e., different stages of decision making) and on their experienced difficulty in deciding in favour of the environment and which behaviour to conduct, (i.e., decisional conflict). To explore in which stage participants find themselves when it comes to environmental decisions and if their respective stages are associated with their experienced decisional conflict, an online questionnaire was distributed among a convenience sample of 418 English-, Dutch-, and Italian-speaking adults to measure determinants of PEBs, participants’ stages, and the extent to which they experience decisional conflict. We observed that participants who were further along in the stages experienced less decisional conflict. Therefore, we suggest that future interventions (e.g., decision aids) should take into account stages of decision making to better meet users’ needs, this can assist people in making environmentally friendly decisions.

Thomas Gültzow
Thomas Gültzow
Assistant Professor Societal Transition & Behaviour Change

I am a passionate researcher in the field of behaviour and decision making, specialising in informed decision making, behaviour change, and the influence of digital communication and interventions.