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Religious values and environmental concern: Harmony and detachment

Journal article
Authors Anders Biel
Andreas Nilsson
Published in Social Science Quarterly
Volume 86
Issue 1
Pages 178-191
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 178-191
Language en
Keywords Religious and environmental values, attitudes, environmental concern
Subject categories Psychology


The thought that environmental concern is rooted in religious beliefs and values has been raised by many writers. Different claims have been made about whether the nature of this relationship is positive or negative, and empirical evidence is mixed. In line with research on attitudes and values, the objective of this study is to examine the hypothesis that unless religious values are mentally accessible, they will not affect judgments of environmental issues. Two environmental is-sues, genetically modified crops and more traditional environmental issues, for example, air pollution from traffic, are chosen to represent accessibility and non-accessibility, respectively. A two-wave data set from a national survey is ana-lyzed. Results support the suggestion that religious values will affect the judg-ment of environmental threats of the first, but not the second issue. In conclu-sion, these findings suggest that situational cues partly determine which values embodied in religion that will influence environmental attitudes.

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