Human Behavioral Contributions to Climate Change: Psychological and Contextual Drivers

Janet K. Swim, Susan Clayton, George S. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


We are facing rapid changes in the global climate, and these changes are attributable to human behavior. Humans produce this global impact through our use of natural resources, multiplied by the vast increase in population seen in the past 50 to 100 years. Our goal in this article is to examine the underlying psychosocial causes of human impact, primarily through patterns of reproduction and consumption. We identify and distinguish individual, societal, and behavioral predictors of environmental impact. Relevant research in these areas (as well as areas that would be aided by greater attention by psychologists) are reviewed. We conclude by highlighting ethical issues that emerge when considering how to address human behavioral contributions to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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