Self-reported reasons for (not) being worried about climate change

Elsevier, Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, Volume 5, January 2023
Gregersen T., Doran R., Storelv S.

A national sample from Norway (N = 2001) was asked to report how much they worry about climate change (closed-ended question), and then to write down their reasons for (not) being worried (open-ended question). Answers to the open-ended question were content analyzed and compared across responses to the closed-ended question. The results showed that the most common reason for being at least somewhat worried was concern about the consequences of climate change. Respondents reporting high worry were in particular more likely to bring up consequences for humans than those reporting medium worry. Respondents who reported low worry referred to a broader range of reasons in their answers, such as believing in natural rather than human causes of climate change, expressing a sense of optimism towards potential solutions, or being discontent with political measures or public discourse on climate change. These findings add novel insights into understanding the subjective meaning associated with the degree to which people report being worried about climate change.