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Hope and climate change: the importance of hope for environmental engagement among young people
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. Department of Education, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Youth & Society.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6613-5974
2012 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 18, no 5, 625-642 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although many young people think climate change is an important societal issue, studies indicate that pessimism is quite common. Finding ways to instill hope could therefore be seen as vital. However, is hope positively related to engagement or is it only a sign of illusory optimism? The aim of the study was to explore if hope concerning climate change has a significant relation to pro-environmental behavior as well as an impact on behavior when controlling for already well-known predictors such as values, social influence, knowledge, and gender. Two questionnaire studies were performed, one with a group of Swedish teenagers (n = 723) and one with a group of Swedish young adults (n = 381). ‘Constructive’ hope had a unique positive influence on pro-environmental behavior. Hope based on denial, however, was negatively correlated with pro-environmental behavior in the two samples and was a significant negative predictor in the teenage group. The conclusion is that hope is not only a pleasant feeling but could also work as a motivational force, if one controls for denial. Implications for education concerning sustainable development are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2012. Vol. 18, no 5, 625-642 p.
Keyword [en]
hope; global climate change; pro-environmental behavior; education for sustainable development; climate skepticism
National Category
Psychology Environmental Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53296DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2011.637157ISI: 000309607500003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84867284043OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-53296DiVA: diva2:1040266
Learning about global environmental problems: Emotional aspects, emotion regulation, and a sense of purpose among children, adolescents, and young adults.Political Socialization and Human Agency: The Development of Civic Engagement from Adolescence to Young Adulthood
Swedish Research Council FormasRiksbankens Jubileumsfond
Available from: 2016-10-26 Created: 2016-10-26 Last updated: 2016-10-27Bibliographically approved

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