Social Media and Beliefs about Climate Change: A Cross-National Analysis of News Use, Political Ideology, and Trust in Science

Trevor Diehl, Brigitte Huber, Homero Gil De Zúñiga, James Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explores the individual- and country-level factors that influence how getting news from social media relates to people's beliefs about anthropogenic climate change. Concepts of psychological distance and motivated reasoning are tested using multilevel analysis with survey data in 20 countries (N = 18,785). Results suggest that using social media for news is associated with a decrease in climate skepticism across the sample. However, social context at the individual-level (conservative political ideology and low trust in science) and at the macro-level (high gross domestic product and individualism) moderate the effect, and therefore reduce social media's potential to inform the public about climate change. This study contributes to conversations about the ability of emerging media to address science issues, particularly in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-213
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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