When does haze initiate health preventive behavior: The impact of future self continuity
(1 Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China;
2 Institute of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China;
3 Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
4 Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
Abstract：Although air pollution poses great threat to people’s health, insufficient health preventive behavior is observed. To understand the phenomenon, we investigated the role of anxiety in mediating the relationship between haze perception and health preventive behavior and further proposed the moderating effect of future self-continuity. Notably, self-psychology believes that Chinese people’s self-concept includes intimate others, which has been neglected in previous literature on future self-continuity. Regarding this, we created the concept of future ‘big self’ continuity by incorporating future descendants into the ‘small self’. We thus hypothesized that one’s care and love for his/her future self and descendants moderated the impact of anxiety on health preventive behavior. We conducted a two-wave survey (separated by one week) on 262 employees in Beijing. Results found a moderated mediation model: Anxiety mediated the relationship between haze perception and health preventive behavior; Future ‘big self’ continuity moderated the impact of anxiety on health preventive behavior but future ‘small self’ continuity failed to moderate the relationship. That is, individuals with a higher level of care and love forthemselves and their descendants reported more health preventive behavior. Our study stressed the role of emotion in explaining environmental risk coping and provided insights intohow to nudge behavior change in public health.