How do I feel when I think about taking action? Hope and boredom, not anxiety and helplessness, predict intentions to take climate action

Nathaniel Geiger, Janet Kay Swim, Karen Gasper, John Fraser, Kate Flinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research examines the extent to which four anticipatory emotional reactions (hope, anxiety, helplessness, and boredom) that arise when contemplating participating in public-sphere climate action predict intentions to engage in such action. In a large, geographically diverse sample of American adults visiting informal science learning centers (e.g., zoos, aquariums; N = 4964), stronger feelings of hope robustly predicted greater intentions to act (η2p = .22, a large effect); whereas stronger feelings of boredom robustly predicted decreased intention to act (η2p = .09, a medium effect). Both of these feelings had significantly more predictive power than political orientation (η2p = .04, a small-to-medium effect). The extent to which respondents felt anxious or helpless was not strongly correlated with their intentions to take action (η2ps ≈ 0.01, a small effect). These findings highlight the underexplored connection between how people feel when they contemplate taking climate action and their intentions to engage in such action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101649
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume76
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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