Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

British Journal of Social Psychology




School of Arts and Humanities




Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas; Vetenskapsrådet


Stanley, S. K., Jylhä, K. M., Leviston, Z., & Walker, I. (2023). Is conservative opposition to climate change threat-based? articulating an integrated threat model of climate change attitudes. British Journal of Social Psychology. Advance online publication.


Throughout the literature, there are assertions that those endorsing conservative ideologies reject the science and solutions of climate change due to perceived threat. That is, they fear that accepting climate change means accepting problems with a favoured socioeconomic system and supporting action on climate change threatens to disrupt these systems. We draw together lines of research and reasoning on this topic to outline three key predictions this perspective makes about the drivers of conservative denial of climate change and opposition to climate policy. The first is that an asymmetry exists in climate-related threat perceptions, whereby greater endorsement of conservative ideology predicts lower perceived threat from climate change and greater perceived threat from climate reform. Second, climate-related threat perceptions are multifaceted, such that threats to economic and cultural well-being can be experienced, at personal or collective levels. Third, the asymmetry in threat perceptions explains conservatives' lower support for pro-climate reforms. We then specify a new integrated threat model of climate change attitudes, review the current evidence for and against each prediction in this model and outline ways to interrogate these theoretical predictions with empirical research. Doing so will advance understanding of the underpinnings of ideological disagreement on climate change.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.