Supporters of climate change science face self-doubt in study

Apr 23, 2014 by Greta Guest

(Phys.org) —Supporting an issue such as climate change can be a daunting task, so what keeps advocates going while avoiding burnout?

New research from Jane Dutton, professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, found that even the most fervent supporters of a social issue—in this case, —face self-doubts.

It's one of the first studies to examine a social issue supporter in multiple contexts to paint a full picture of the obstacles faced in their lives.

"Commitment to supporting like climate change is often a long-term deal with few clear indicators of success and progress," said Dutton, who also is a professor of psychology and the Robert L. Kahn Distinguished Professor at U-M. "We were interested in the bigger story of what keeps social issue supporters psychologically in the game."

Dutton's study, "It's Not Easy Being Green: The Role of Self-Evaluations in Explaining Support of Environmental Issues," was co-authored by Scott Sonenshein of Rice University and Katherine DeCelles of the University of Toronto and was published in the Academy of Management Journal.

"People don't leave their environmental selves at the door when they move across the domains in their lives," Dutton said. "Only by considering the fuller life of social issue supporters could we understand both the challenges they faced and how they created the psychological fuel to keep believing in themselves."

They need to see themselves as having the knowledge and experience to be helpful to the cause, she said. The rub is that these are subjective self-assessments and depend heavily on how they see themselves. Yet social issue advocates who were acting in consistently supportive ways saw themselves in more self-affirming ways.

"I think our research reminds social issue supporters to broaden the lens for how they see and evaluate themselves and consider a full range of assets they bring to the table," Dutton said.

Explore further: It's not easy 'being green', study says

More information: The study is available online: webuser.bus.umich.edu/janedut/… %20Being%20Green.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

It's not easy 'being green', study says

Dec 02, 2013

Think you don't recycle enough? You're not alone. However, people's ability to overcome self-doubt plays a critical role in how successfully they act in support of environmental issues, according to a new study co-authored ...

Context switching in daily life stresses us, study finds

Mar 06, 2014

Transitioning frequently between social settings, such as from home to office or changing social roles from parent to employee, can be a particularly stressful daily hassle, says a new Cornell study published ...

Recommended for you

Power can corrupt even the honest

19 hours ago

When appointing a new leader, selectors base their choice on several factors and typically look for leaders with desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust ...

Learning at 10 degrees north

20 hours ago

Secluded beaches, calypso music and the entertaining carnival are often what come to mind when thinking of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. But Dal Earth Sciences students might first consider Trinidad's ...

How to find the knowns and unknowns in any research

21 hours ago

Have you ever felt overloaded by information? Ever wondered how to make sense of claims and counter-claims about a topic? With so much information out there on many different issues, how is a person new to ...

Minorities energize US consumer market, according to report

21 hours ago

The buying power of minority groups in the U.S. has reached new heights and continues to outpace cumulative inflation, according to the latest Multicultural Economy Report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
1 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2014
it is all about following the Green i.e. money - these eco- janissaries can be spotted - look for guilty gills while feeding