Skip to content

Journal Article

The role of personality traits in green decision-making


Publication date

Oct 2017


This paper investigates whether personality traits play a significant role in the decision to invest in energy efficiency in the residential sector. Using the data from the Understanding Society UK survey, we apply structural equation modelling to examine if the Big Five personality traits help explain why certain individuals choose to invest in energy efficiency measures while others do not, even under nearly identical financial conditions. The results show that personality traits affect one-time, high-cost energy efficiency investments indirectly through environmental attitudes and risk preferences. However, low-cost pro-environmental habits, such as conserving energy and buying ‘green’ products, are mediated only through the environmental attitude, but not through the risk preference channel. This is consistent with the fact that these everyday choices carry a much lower financial risk than an expensive energy efficiency investment. The findings illustrate that personality traits may pose a barrier to reducing energy consumption in the residential sector and underline the need for creating differentiated and targeted products and policies.

Published in

Journal of Economic Psychology

Volume and page numbers

62 , 313 -328





Environmental Sociology, Psychology, Households, Housing Market, and Sociology Of Households


University of Essex, Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to University of Essex registered users* -

Related publications

  1. Personality traits and energy efficiency in the UK residential market

    Ante Busic-Sontic, Natalia V. Czap, and Franz Fuerst

    1. Environmental Sociology
    2. Psychology
    3. Households
    4. Housing Market
    5. Sociology Of Households


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest