Social class, control, and action: Socioeconomic status differences in antecedents of support for pro-environmental action

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

Addressing social issues such as climate change requires significant support and engagement of citizens with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The present research examines whether individuals who vary in their socioeconomic status significantly differ in their psychological antecedents of support for pro-environmental action. Study 1, using U.S. nationally representative data, showed that personal beliefs about climate change predicted support for pro-environmental policies more strongly among individuals with a higher, relative to lower, SES background. Studies 2 and 3, by employing correlational and experimental approaches respectively, found that general sense of control over life outcomes underlies the extent to which support for pro-environmental action is contingent on personal beliefs about climate change. Study 4 identified perceived social norms about pro-environmental actions as an alternative predictor of support for pro-environmental action among people from lower SES background. Taken together, the present research shows that individuals with distinct socioeconomic backgrounds differ in their key psychological levers of pro-environmental action. To grasp how to solve urgent social issues such as climate change requires greater understanding of the psychology of citizens with diverse backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-75
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume77
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Control
  • Pro-environmental action
  • Socioeconomic status

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