Explaining gender differences in concern about environmental problems in the United States
We examine theoretical arguments explaining gender differences in environmental concern using data from six Gallup surveys in the 2000s. Using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, we examine the direct and indirect effects of gender and other key variables on two factors of environmental concern: worry about health-related environmental problems and worry about global environmental problems. We find weak but consistent support for the safety concerns hypothesis, which expects that women are more concerned than are men about health-related environmental problems. Our results offer no support for various arguments that men’s and women’s differential performance of key social roles in society account for gender differences in environmental concern. We find consistent support for the claim that risk perception mediates the direct effect of gender on environmental concern. We end with a discussion of fruitful avenues for future research on gender differences in environmental concern.