Religiosity Moderates the Link Between Environmental Beliefs and Pro-Environmental Support: The Role of Belief in a Controlling God

Kimin Eom, Carmel S. Saad, Heejung S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current research examines differences in what motivates environmentally sustainable behavior between more and less religious people in the United States. We found that religiosity moderates the extent to which environmental beliefs predict pro-environmental support. Specifically, environmental beliefs predicted pro-environmental support less strongly among more religious people than less religious people (Studies 1 and 2). Using a correlational (Study 2) and an experimental (Study 3) design, we further found that one particular aspect of religiosity—believing in a controlling god—reduced the importance of personally held environmental beliefs in shaping one’s support for pro-environmental actions. Our findings suggest that motivation to act based on personal beliefs may be attenuated among people who are religious because they believe in an external source of control. Sociocultural factors, such as religion, shape the psychological underpinnings of social actions, and the present research underscores the importance of understanding psychological diversity in promoting support toward environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-905
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Keywords

  • culture
  • environmental beliefs
  • pro-environmental action
  • religion
  • sustainability

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