University of Sussex
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No time to waste: applying social psychological methods and theories to household food waste reduction

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posted on 2023-06-08, 20:28 authored by Ella Graham-Rowe
The amount of food thrown away by UK households is substantial and, to a large extent, avoidable. Despite the obvious imperative for research to identify key factors that motivate, enable or prevent household food waste reduction, little research to date has directly addressed this objective. The research presented in this thesis had two clear aims: (1) to investigate antecedents of household food waste reduction and barriers to change, and (2) to explore whether self-affirmation techniques can increase motivation to reduce household food waste. Four empirical studies were conducted. The first study qualitatively explored thoughts, feelings and experiences of 15 UK household food purchasers. Analysis revealed seven core categories representing both motivations and barriers to household food waste reduction. The second study (N = 279) applied an extended theory of planned behaviour (TPB) model to predict household food waste reduction intention and behaviour. Results revealed that the extended TPB variables predicted 64.55% of intention to reduce household food waste and 5.03% of the variance in household food waste behaviour. Studies 3 and 4 explored whether self-affirmation techniques would promote openness to information detailing the negative consequences of household food waste. Study 3 (N = 224) found that self-affirmed participants reported more positive cognitions towards household food waste reduction on a number of outcomes compared to their nonaffirmed counterparts. However, there was no impact of the self-affirmation manipulation on behaviour at follow-up. Study 4 (N = 362) failed to replicate the impact of selfaffirmation on cognitions. However, self-affirmed participants reported that they threw away less household food waste at follow-up. Further research in the context of selfaffirmation on food waste reduction behaviour is required.


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  • doctoral

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  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

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