Acting as we feel: Which emotional responses to the climate crisis motivate climate action

Lilla Nóra Kovács, Gesine Jordan, Frida Berglund, Benedict Holden, Elena Niehoff, Felicia Pohl, Mariem Younssi, Inés Zevallos, Csilla Ágoston, Attila Varga, Gyöngyi Kökönyei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study assessed emotional responses and emotion regulation strategies to the climate crisis, and their relationship to pro-environmental behaviour cross-sectionally using self-report online surveys. 1307 participants were recruited through convenience sampling from six European countries, alongside a distinct sample of 1040 participants representative of age, sex, and ethnicity in the United States. Our findings replicated the well-known association that stronger negative emotions to the climate crisis are associated with more pro-environmental behaviour. The relationship between climate emotions and pro-environmental behaviour was moderated by resignation in the US sample, by cognitive reappraisal and other-blame in the European sample and mediated by rumination in both samples. Furthermore, latent profiles of emotional responses were identified. In both samples, there was one distinct class demonstrating strong climate emotions, and a group with very low or no climate emotions (alongside with two/three groups with moderate emotional intensity in the European and the US samples, respectively). Findings also revealed that members of the emotional group were more likely to take climate action and tend to engage more in emotion regulation than the unemotional group. Our results highlight the crucial role of emotions and emotion regulation strategies in mitigating the climate crisis by taking pro-environmental action.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102327
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Early online date29 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Data Availability Statement

Data and analysis scripts are available at


  • Climate action
  • Climate crisis
  • Eco distress
  • Emotion regulation
  • Environmentally friendly behaviour
  • Global warming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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