Investigating Connections between Need for Cognitive Closure and Climate Change Concern in College Students

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 4;17(15):5619. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17155619.


Understanding how people's worldviews and individual personality differences affect their thinking about anthropogenic climate change is critical to communication efforts regarding this issue. This study surveyed University of Georgia students to investigate the role that need for cognitive closure plays in level of climate change worry. The relationship between these two was found to involve suppression-a subset of mediation-by the social dimension of political conservatism. Political conservatism was also found to play a mediating role in the relationship between need for cognitive closure and support for governmental and personal climate solutions. However, social conservatism played this mediator role in women, and functioned as a suppressor for men. These findings help inform audience segmentation and creation of climate-related messages based on audience worldview and personality.

Keywords: climate change; communication; need for cognitive closure; psychology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't