Tourists’ Pro-environmental Behaviors: Moral Obligation or Disengagement?

Snow Wu, Xavier Font, Jingyan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


We study the formation of pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) by integrating both the promoting (moral obligation) and inhibiting (moral disengagement) PEB mechanisms. Results of a sample of 285 tourists at a National Nature Reserve in China affirm that moral obligation positively affects PEB intention, while moral disengagement has significant negative impact. There is little difference in the relative importance of moral obligation and moral disengagement in affecting PEB intention. Social influence plays an important role in regulating the impacts of moral variables on PEB intentions. This study also broadens knowledge of the structure of PEB, by unveiling low-effort PEB intention as a precursor to high-effort PEB intention, and a mediator between moral obligation / moral disengagement and high-effort PEB intention. This study provides insights and implications for tourism practitioners and policy makers, and opens up future research exploration of the paradox of the promoting and inhibiting PEB mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-748
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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