Protection Motivation Theory and intention to reduce fossil fuel consumption in response to climate change


Climate change represents a significant threat to society and the ecosystem at large, but many do not respond to this threat. This study investigates whether constructs within Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) explain individuals’ intention to reduce their fossil fuel consumption. US residents (N=541) completed a cross-sectional survey of intention to reduce fossil fuel consumption and PMT constructs. Correlational results were consistent with the PMT; threat appraisal and coping efficacy constructs were correlated with intention to change behaviour. In a regression model, all constructs accounted for unique variance in intention to reduce fossil fuel usage. However, maladaptive response rewards had an unexpected positive relationship with intention in this model. Interestingly, this was not observed in structure coefficients. PMT constructs accounted for 59% of intention to reduce fossil fuel use. These findings support the unique contributions of the PMT constructs in the context of individual pro-environmental behaviours and highlight potential targets for interventions.