Personal characteristics, local environmental conditions, and individual environmental concern: a multilevel analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016, © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Early research shows that the level of individual environmental concern correlates with some personal characteristics, such as gender, political orientation, and beliefs and values. Many studies, however, omit important social and contextual factors that may influence individual concern. This paper adds to the extant literature by situating survey respondents within their local environment to examine both personal and local environmental influences on citizens’ environmental concern. We use data from nationally representative surveys and government agency data, such as that provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. Using hierarchical linear modelling, we examine the extent to which local environmental stressors, such as air pollution and industrial waste, are related to individual environmental concern. Our results in reference to individual level predictors are consistent with extant literature. The environmental level results are mixed–local environmental incidents and air pollution are positively associated with individual concern, while industrial wastes are not. We offer insight into why some predictors are not related to concern, which is important to policymakers and future environmental policy recommendations.

altmetric score

  • 3.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Hannibal, B., Liu, X., & Vedlitz, A.

citation count

  • 13

publication date

  • August 2016