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Predicting climate change mitigation and adaptation behaviors in agricultural production: A comparison of the theory of planned behavior and the Value-Belief-Norm Theory

Zhang, Lu, Ruiz-Menjivar, Jorge, Luo, Biliang, Liang, Zhihui, Swisher, Mickie E.
Journal of environmental psychology 2020 v.68 pp. 101408
altruism, behavior change, climate change, crop production, farmers' attitudes, food security, growers, issues and policy, least squares, prediction, psychology, rice, structural equation modeling, China
This study compares the predictive power of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and the Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) theory in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation behaviors in agricultural rice production. Data were collected from 1538 rice farmers in the province of Hubei, China. We empirically examine the determinants of rice growers' intentions towards mitigation and adaption and their actual behaviors via partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Our results indicate that for TPB, behavioral intentions and perceived behavioral control account for 42.1% of farmers' adaptation behaviors, but only 25.6% for mitigation behaviors. In contrast, for the VBN theory, proenvironmental personal norms explain 54.2% of growers’ mitigation behaviors, but only 28.4% of adaptation behaviors. Thus, TPB appears to be more successful at predicting self-interest-oriented behaviors, such as climate change adaptation. On the other hand, our findings provide evidence that the VBN theory performs better when explaining altruistic behaviors like mitigation behaviors. These conclusions have important implications for the formulation of future policies that aim to promote effective and sustainable proenvironmental behavioral changes in agriculture, while ensuring global food security.