Examining the willingness of Americans to alter behaviour to mitigate climate change Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the increasing interest in climate change policy in the US, little systematic research has been conducted on the willingness of individuals to change their behaviour to mitigate the problem. Understanding behavioural change is critical if federal and local governments intend to implement programmes requiring actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This understudied aspect of climate change policy is addressed by quantitatively examining the degree to which residents living in the US are willing to alter their behaviour to mitigate climate change impacts, and by identifying the major factors contributing to this willingness. Based on a national survey, the reported willingness of individuals to alter behaviours is explained, using the components of risk, individual stress, capacity and ecological values. The findings indicate that specific personal traits and contextual characteristics trigger a significantly greater willingness to change longstanding behavioural patterns. These insights into the factors motivating behavioural change can provide guidance to decision makers at both federal and local levels on how best to implement climate change policies. 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 7.184

author list (cited authors)

  • Brody, S., Grover, H., & Vedlitz, A.

citation count

  • 66

complete list of authors

  • Brody, Samuel||Grover, Himanshu||Vedlitz, Arnold

publication date

  • January 2012