Motivating sustainability: extending the decisional balance scale.

Peter McGoldrick, Kathleen Keeling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The decisional balance scale (DBS) has been applied extensively in treating addictive behaviors and in social marketing; so far it has not been applied widely in environmental contexts. The purpose of this paper is to summarize scale development procedures to generate and test generic, economic, and specific items applicable to pro-environmental behaviors.

The elicitation process included a largely qualitative Internet survey with 342 respondents in the US and UK. This was followed by scale testing with a US sample of 779, then main surveys in the US, UK, and Australia involving 7,618 respondents. High levels of reliability are demonstrated within the generic, economic, and most of the behavior-specific scales. Explanatory power varied across behaviors, those with a spatial dimension gaining most from addition of the behavior-specific scales.

Examples of mapping the DBS elements onto stages of change in sustainable behavior change are provided, demonstrating DBS shifts at specific awareness, concern, intention, action, and relapse transition points. These analyses provide valuable diagnostics for researchers, managers, and policy makers, as well as suggesting themes for communicating sustainability for different behaviors and under different conditions of awareness and adoption
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdeas in Marketing: Finding the New and Polishing the Old
PublisherSpringer Nature
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAcademy of Marketing Science Annual Conference - Monterey, CA
Duration: 14 May 201318 May 2013

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science (DMSPAMS)


ConferenceAcademy of Marketing Science Annual Conference
CityMonterey, CA


  • Sustainability, TTM, Decisional Balance Scale, Social Marketing


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