The Sustainable Personality: Values and Behaviors in Individual Sustainability

Jesse B. Pappas, Eric C. Pappas


Meaningful societal change begins with individual change. One cannot do for a community what one cannot do for one’s self. The topic of Individual Sustainability is a controversial one, as students often appear to be unable to align their demonstrated behaviors with their admirable values related to sustainability. Individual behavior creates the foundation for action in social, economic, and environmental sustainability, and potentially guides our ability to work with one another to make life-affirming decisions. In short, it is a matter of aligning our day-to-day behaviors with our well-stated values that will result in greater sustainable community action.

The general objective of this research is to determine how an interactive website providing multisource feedback on personality motivates students to change their behaviors or values, or to align their behaviors and values. We believe that creating a “cognitive dissonance” between individuals’ values and behaviors tends to encourage them to balance more effectively the self-knowledge that motivates intentional personal development towards more sustainable behavior. Most students indicated changes in their awareness, behaviors, and values following the study, but fewer indicated a greater alignment between their values and behaviors.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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