Date of Graduation

Summer 2010


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Chantal Levesque


Voluntary simplicity is an intentional move to abandon materialism and instead focus on self-sustainability and ecologically responsible behaviors. Previous research, such as Brown and Kasser (2005), has shown that voluntary simplifiers report higher levels of overall well-being, more intrinsic life values (related to basic needs satisfaction), and more positive environmental behaviors. This study examines the relationships of voluntary simplicity, as influenced by self-determination, on overall well-being. This study used an online questionnaire with a college sample (N = 534) to assess whether students who engage in environmentally sustainable behaviors and who were positively motivated to do so would report higher levels of motivation and well-being in their daily lives. This is in contrast to students who rarely or never engaged in environmentally sustainable behaviors, and are not self-determined towards these behaviors. It was hypothesized that voluntary simplifiers would report the effects of self-determination towards the environment as having a positive impact on other elements of their lives. Overall the data suggest that being self-determined towards environmentally sustainable behaviors can increase well-being, create higher levels of basic needs satisfaction, and have a positive impact on life aspirations.


voluntary simplicity, environment, sustainable, well-being, self-determination

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© Tess Kathleen Hagg

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