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Cultural determinants of climate change opinion: familism predicts climate beliefs and policy support among US Latinos


Research has identified familism, a cultural value reflecting the centrality and prioritization of the family, as a key psychosocial determinant of health risk-mitigation behavior among Latinos, a large and growing segment of the US public. In a national probability survey in which Latinos were oversampled, we explored whether familism predicts climate beliefs and policy preferences. Whereas political ideology and education predicted Whites’ climate change beliefs and support for mitigation policy, these factors were substantially weaker predictors of Latinos’ climate beliefs and policy support. In contrast, familism emerged as a robust predictor of Latinos’ climate-related beliefs and policy support. These findings generalized across different operationalizations of familism, including the use of family as a referent in decision-making (family-as-referent) and felt obligation to one’s family (familial obligation). We consider implications of relational values central to family for climate communication and advocacy.

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The dataset and codebook generated and analyzed for the current study is available in the Open Science Framework repository at

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Data analysis code is available from the authors upon request.


This research was supported by a grant from the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and the Environmental Defense Fund.

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Correspondence to Adam R. Pearson.

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Pearson, A.R., Bacio, G.A., Naiman, S. et al. Cultural determinants of climate change opinion: familism predicts climate beliefs and policy support among US Latinos. Climatic Change 167, 11 (2021).

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  • Climate change
  • Ethnicity
  • Culture
  • Latino
  • Policy
  • Public opinion