Background. Personal authenticity, the ability to be true to oneself, is traditionally studied from the perspective of its protective role for the individual and is only beginning to be studied in relation to the surrounding world. In this study, we suggest that authentic people may be more aware and concerned about their environment then less authentic people. The theoretical foundations for our work were: the person-centered approach; subject psychology; and modern research on pro-environmental behavior.
Objective. We presented our understanding of personal authenticity within Russian subject psychology, developed the standardized instruments necessary for carrying out our main aim, and explored the links between authenticity and pro-environmental behavior in both person-centered and subject psychology.
Design. Four hundred thirty (430) Russian students (Mage = 19.19; SDage = 1.22; 79.5% women) participated in the study. Authenticity was measured both by the revised Russian version of the Authenticity Scale, and a new tool, the Moscow Authenticity Scale, which was developed on the basis of subject psychology. To measure pro-environmental behavior, we created a new instrument called the Ecological Lifestyle Scale, which included Social Activities and Ecological Self-restraint subscales.
Results. Using the two new scales, the Moscow Authenticity Scale and the Ecological Lifestyle Scale, along with a modification of the Authenticity scale, we found that authenticity, considered within the framework of subject psychology, provided a more nuanced picture of the relationship between personal authenticity and pro-environmental behavior than the person-centered model did. Women were more likely to exercise pro-environmental behavior than men; however, the connections between personal authenticity and pro-environmental behavior were stronger in the male group.
Conclusion. Authenticity is associated with pro-environmental behavior but does not predict it accurately enough. Future research on moderating or mediating variables is suggested.
Keywords: authenticity/ pro-environmental behavior/ person-centered psychology/ subjective psychology/ gender/ Moscow authenticity scale/ ecological lifestyle scale