Frick, V. et al.When your shop says #lessismore. Online communication interventions for clothing sufficiency

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Vivian Frick, Maike Gossen, Tilman Santarius & Sonja Geiger

Release date:
June 2021

Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 75

To keep human resource consumption within planetary boundaries, individual consumption levels need to drop. The authors therefore investigated whether online communications interventions, especially on social media, can foster sufficiency in the clothing domain. In two experiments, consumption reduction and prolonging the lifetime of clothes were promoted. In Study 1, they conducted an online field intervention. All participants, both in the experimental and the control groups, reduced their clothing consumption. Hence, the intervention itself did not change clothing consumption levels. Study 2was a laboratory experiment with sufficiency-promoting social media communication. Sufficiency-promoting communication led to more sufficiency behavior compared to neutral and consumption-promoting communication. This effect was mediated by a lower desire to acquire new clothes (aspiration level). Peer endorsement of the communication by other social media users did not strengthen the communication's effect. However, the attitude towards the sender and the communication was more positive in the sufficiency-promoting communication than under the other two conditions. Although the field intervention was not effective, social media posts could increase sufficiency behavior in the short-term. To test long-term effects, further experimental studies are needed.

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