Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology






School of Arts and Humanities


Australian National University (ANU) / ANU’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health’s McMichael Award and Fellowship Program


Leviston, Z., Nangrani, T., Stanley, S. K., & Walker, I. (2024). Consequences of group-based misperceptions of climate concern for efficacy and action. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, 6, article 100189.


People tend to underestimate others’ environmental values, including when judging the values of minority-status groups. Using a large national sample (N = 5110), we test whether these misperceptions extend to concern about climate change in Australia, and differ depending on immigrant status, ethnicity, and where one is located (i.e., in or outside capital cities). We also examine the consequences of misperceptions for self-efficacy and pro-environmental behaviour. We find personal climate concern is high, but perceptions of others’ concern is lower. Immigrants and Australian-born participants have similarly high concern, but both groups underestimate how concerned immigrants are. Southern-Central-Asian identifiers are the most concerned; Australian identifiers relatively less so. All ethnic categories appeared to underestimate the concern of their own ethnicity. City-dwellers had slightly higher concern than those in regional or rural areas, but city-dwellers' concern was underestimated by people regardless of their location. Those who underestimated others’ concern had lower pro-environmental behavioural engagement compared to those who overestimated concern, and this was mediated by lower self-efficacy. We suggest that strategies to promote climate engagement and efficacy go beyond attempting to correct misperceptions, and encompass approaches that promote environmentally-relevant social interaction across different groups.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.