Vegans’ Motivations and Social Interactions: A Person-Centred Approach

Judge, M. (University of Melbourne), Fernando, J. (University of Melbourne), Tan, N. (University of Melbourne)

Research suggests that interactions with morally-motivated minority groups such as vegans can threaten the self-concept of non-vegans and produce negative backlash. In the current research, we explore this phenomenon from the target’s perspective and take a person-centred approach to vegans’ motivations and social interactions. We recruited 386 vegans via Australian social media groups (81% female; aged 18-77, M = 40.66, SD = 14.24) and measured their motivations for veganism in addition to several measures relating to their social interactions with non-vegans. When asked to imagine explaining their motivations for veganism in a context where other people are eating meat, participants tended to downplay moral motivations more than other motivations. This tendency was associated with less positive meta-perceptions of how others would view them based on their motivation for veganism, and a weaker activist identity. A latent profile analysis identified five groups defined by unique combinations of motivations, and these groups also varied on measures such as commitment to veganism, strictness, and affect. We discuss the implications for how individuals maintain morally-motivated identities over time, as well as for the broader literature on lifestyle-based movements and social change.


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Veganism Symposium