How Perceived Exposure to Environmental Harm Influences Environmental Behavior in Urban China


Chen, Xiaodong; Peterson, M. Nils; Hull, Vanessa; Lu, Chuntian; Hong, Dayong; Liu, Jianguo

Journal or Book Title: AMBIO

Keywords: China; Environmental attitudes; Environmental harm; New environmental paradigm; Pro-environmental behavior

Volume/Issue: online July 23, 2012

Year Published: 2012


Rapid environmental degradation in China makes understanding how perceived exposure to environmental harm influences environmental attitudes and participation in pro-environmental behaviors among the Chinese people crucial. We used a nation-wide survey dataset in urban China to test two hypotheses: experiencing environmental harm directly affects environmental behavior; environmental attitudes mediate the relationship between experiencing environmental harm and environmental behavior. We found respondents who experienced environmental harm had more pro-environmental attitudes. Experiencing environmental harm positively influenced pro-environmental behavior both directly and indirectly through the  mediation of pro-environmental attitudes. Among the pro-environmental behaviors, environmental litigation was most strongly related with exposure to environmental harm. Our results suggest that more participation in pro-environmental behaviors may be expected as rapid economic development increases public exposure to environmental harm in urban China.

DOI: 10.1007/s13280-012-0335-9

Type of Publication: Journal Article

Publisher: Springer/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences