Climatic Change

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 165–178

Why aren’t we taking action? Psychological barriers to climate-positive food choices


DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1830-y

Cite this article as:
Gifford, R.D. & Chen, A.K.S. Climatic Change (2017) 140: 165. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1830-y


The environmental attitude-behavior gap has been extensively studied, but no research has examined a wide range of barriers to climate change mitigation. Inspired by Gifford’s (2011) seven categories of psychological barriers to climate change mitigation and adaptation, we examined the role of 36 barriers on climate-positive food-choice intentions. Of the 36, 29 were significantly related to weaker intentions. Exploratory factor analysis revealed that the barriers cluster into four factors (Denial, Interpersonal Influences, Conflicting Goals and Aspirations, and Tokenism). Confirmatory factor analysis validated both the four-factor model and the rational seven-factor model proposed earlier. All factors except Interpersonal Influence are related to fewer food-choice intentions, illustrating the value of understanding psychological barriers for pro-environmental intentions.

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (CA)
  • 435-2012-0078

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Personalised recommendations