Social dominance as an ideological barrier to environmental engagement: Qualitative and quantitative insights

Samantha K. Stanley, Marc S. Wilson, Taciano L. Milfont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change denial is motivated in part by ideology, with research showing that a greater tolerance of social inequality is consistently linked to lower pro-environmentalism. We report findings from two mixed-methods studies. In Study One, we provide insight into how individuals with varying levels of social dominance orientation discuss environmental issues by analyzing 59 interviews. These analyses revealed that many individuals were concerned about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to climate change; however, many were also armed with justifications excusing their and others’ inaction on the problem. To establish further how the ideas shared in the interviews related to social dominance, we reworked the ideas into statements for survey-based research in Study Two. Social dominance orientation and its composite dimensions related to most interview-based statements, with those scoring higher on dominance attitudes more opposed to top-down action on climate change, and those more tolerant of inequality more opposed to individual action. We discuss implications for climate change communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102223
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume67
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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