What Shapes Public Reactions to Climate Change? Overview of Research and Policy Implications


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Martin Patchen, Department of Sociology, Stone Hall, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907. [e-mail: mandnpatchen@comcast.net].


This article first briefly reviews some theoretical perspectives that have been applied to environmental behavior. Next, a theoretical model is proposed to help organize the broad range of research findings. The effects of specific variables in this model on psychological and behavioral outcomes are then discussed. Research indicates that environmental messages need to be framed in the context of the characteristics, values, and loyalties of the audience, as well as in the context of their interests. Programs to combat climate change should be structured so that individuals see their actions as part of a shared social effort.