Sander van der Linden, (2015). The social-psychological determinants of climate change risk perceptions: Towards a comprehensive model. Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 41, Pages 112-124.


This study advances a detailed social-psychological model of climate change risk perceptions by combining and integrating cognitive, experiential, and socio-cultural factors. The conceptual model is tested empirically on a national sample (N = 808) of the UK population. Results indicate that the full climate change risk perception model (CCRPM) is able to explain nearly 70% of the variance in risk perception. Gender, political party, knowledge of the causes, impacts and responses to climate change, social norms, value orientations, affect and personal experience with extreme weather were all identified as significant predictors. Experiential and socio-cultural factors explained significantly more variance in risk perception than either cognitive or socio-demographic characteristics. Results also confirm that the factor analytic structure of climate change risk perceptions can be conceptualized along two key dimensions, namely: personal and societal risk judgments and that both dimensions have different psychological antecedents. Implications for theory and public risk communication are discussed.