Cross-National Variation of Gender Differences in Environmental Concern: Testing the Sociocultural Hindrance Hypothesis

Hoi Wing Chan, Vivien Pong, Kim Pong Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Although it is widely accepted that women are more pro-environmental than men, findings regarding gender differences in environmental concern have actually been mixed. In this study, we attempt to reconcile these mixed findings by considering the influence of sociocultural contexts. Specifically, we propose that some sociocultural contexts tend to hinder the psychological process that underlies gender differences in environmental concern. We tested this sociocultural hindrance hypothesis with an international survey data set (International Social Survey Programme) that involved respondents from 32 countries. We found that gender differences in environmental concern were smaller in societies with higher levels of gender inequality, economic scarcity, power distance, and collectivism. These results highlight the need to examine both the “why” and “when” questions for gender differences in environmental concern. They also indicate the importance of considering not only individual-level variables but also societal-level factors in the study of environmental concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-108
Number of pages28
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cross-national variation
  • culture
  • environmental concern
  • gender differences
  • sociocultural contexts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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