Cultural Variability in the Link Between Environmental Concern and Support for Environmental Action

Kimin Eom, Heejung S. Kim, David K. Sherman, Keiko Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Research on sustainability behaviors has been based on the assumption that increasing personal concerns about the environment will increase proenvironmental action. We tested whether this assumption is more applicable to individualistic cultures than to collectivistic cultures. In Study 1, we compared 47 countries (N = 57,268) and found that they varied considerably in the degree to which environmental concern predicted support for proenvironmental action. National-level individualism explained the between-nation variability above and beyond the effects of other cultural values and independently of person-level individualism. In Study 2, we compared individualistic and collectivistic nations (United States vs. Japan; N = 251) and found culture-specific predictors of proenvironmental behavior. Environmental concern predicted environmentally friendly consumer choice among European Americans but not Japanese. For Japanese participants, perceived norms about environmental behavior predicted proenvironmental decision making. Facilitating sustainability across nations requires an understanding of how culture determines which psychological factors drive human action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1339
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • culture
  • individualism
  • norms
  • open materials
  • proenvironmental action
  • sustainability


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