Doherty and Webler Nature Climate Change 2016
Doherty, K. and Webler, T. (2016) Social norms and efficacy beliefs drive the Alarmed segment's public-sphere climate actions, Nature Climate Change. Online first at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE3025

Publication Abstract

 Surprisingly few individuals who are highly concerned about climate change take action to influence public policies.To assess social-psychological and cognitive drivers of public-sphere climate actions of “Global Warming’s Six Americas” Alarmed segment, we developed a behavior model and tested it using structural equation modeling of survey data from Vermont, USA (N=702). Our model, which integrates social cognitive theory, social norms research, and value belief norm theory, explains 36-64% of the variance in five behaviors. Here we show descriptive social norms, self-efficacy, personal response efficacy, and collective response efficacy as strong driving forces of: voting, donating money, volunteering, contacting government officials, and participating in rallies/protests about climate change. Beliefs that similar others engaged in such actions increased behavior and strengthened efficacy beliefs, which also led to greater action. Results suggest that efforts to increase public-sphere climate actions ofAlarmed individuals should foster beliefs about positive descriptive social norms and efficacy. 

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