Undesirable effects of threatening climate change information: A cross-cultural study

Isabella Uhl, Johannes Klackle, Nina Hansen, Eva Jonas

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

13 Citaten (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Why is the fight against climate change so challenging? Research suggests that climate change information may trigger symbolic defense strategies such as derogative outgroup behaviors (e.g., ethnocentrism) instead of direct attempts to address the problem itself (e.g., proenvironmental behavior). Ingroup affirmation may help decrease symbolic responses. We conducted a 2 (Affirmation: ingroup vs. no affirmation) × 2 (Message: threat vs. control) × 2 (Nation: Austria vs. Argentina) experiment (N = 243) to assess responses to climate change information (direct and symbolic) in participants from individualist and collectivist cultures. Participants responded with higher levels of ethnocentrism and a lower intention to engage in proenvironmental behavior after reading climate change information. This effect was significant in Austria. Using ingroup affirmation as an intervention tended to foster rather than reduce ethnocentrism. Thus, across cultures people resolve climate change threat in symbolic ways rather than by trying to address the problem itself.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)513-529
Aantal pagina's17
TijdschriftGroup Processes & Intergroup Relations
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
Vroegere onlinedatum30-okt-2017
StatusPublished - apr-2018

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