DIY and gardening - sources of self-efficacy

DIY stores and garden centers bundle emerging spring energy – after months of standstill and the melting away of resilience, people want to repair, create, tackle, and feel energetic again. DIY stores and garden centers offer the appropriate tools and are thus sources of the yearned self-efficacy. This was the result of a study commissioned by the BHB (Handelsverband Heimwerken, Bauen und Garten e.V.).

The garden as a place of mental hygiene and the garden center as an enabler

“During lockdown, People found their own garden in particular to be a healing environment where they could plant against their powerlessness,” says study director Paul Bremer. It is also the place where stress and accumulated aggression best relieved. The idea of not being able to sufficiently supply this place of mental hygiene with soil and fertilizer in spring had triggered concerns and anger in the subjects.
The DIY store, on the other hand, is a mental outfitter. There, people can arm themselves with tools for all situations in life. With their help, they set up projects that can make them mighty proud in the end. Here, too, people formulated the need to be able to “equip” themselves with everything they need in time to always be able to counter the deterioration of their own environment. “Repairing damage to their home is described as systemically important, just like a grocery shop,” says Bremer.

"DIY equipment is a human right"

Some of the subjects had formulated this in drastic quotations (“Do-it-yourself equipment is a human right after all. I am not an animal that only needs to be fed by the supermarket”). Most people could only endure the stagnant life in lockdown by taking action. Many of the harmless pleasures of the first lockdown – puzzles, cooking, board games – have become boring.
Agonising feelings of loss of lifetime spread. Activities that are perceived as self-effective and meaningful and give people back some perspectives are particularly helpful against this. For example, someone is still the ruler of nature in his garden or can help to shape his own future by renovating his own home. According to the psychologist, people are suffering from a lack of soul food. “The psychological relief provided by work and plants can shift activity from public places to someone’s own home.”

The study

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Paul Bremer


Paul Bremer is a media psychologist, analytical intensive consultant and project manager. He has been working at the rheingold Institute since 2016. His scientific focus is on digital research, media and the psychology of food. Tel .: +49 221-912 777-949 E-Mail: bremer@rheingold-online.de