Self-affirmation theory posits that thoughts and actions that affirm an important aspect of the self-concept can make people more susceptible to change by casting their self in a positive light. Whereas much of the current literature has been restricted to individual-level concerns, the current study provides longitudinal evidence for behavioral outcomes in the context of the California drought, advancing our theoretical knowledge regarding the underlying processes that lead self-affirmed individuals to address societal risks and collective concerns. The results of a three-wave experimental study (N = 91) indicated that relative to nonaffirmed counterparts, self-affirmed participants reported on higher levels of support for water conservation policies, as well as on reduction of water use that endured for 30 days following the self-affirming manipulation. In both cases, the effects were mediated by collective-efficacy but not by self-efficacy. Relevant explanations are considered and practical and theoretical implications are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)