Intergroup attitudes can also be negatively impacted by climate change. In a recent study, survey respondents displayed more negative attitudes toward policies to support minorities and immigrants when temperatures were high (Cohen & Krueger, 2016). An experimental study showed that people who were thinking about climate change became more hostile to individuals outside their social group (that is, people they consider to be unlike them) and more likely to support the status quo and its accompanying social inequities (Fritsche, Cohrs, Kessler, & Bauer, 2012). Hostility toward individuals outside one’s social group can be a way of affirming one’s own group identity in the face of a perceived threat. In a vicious cycle, lower levels of social cohesion and connectedness, greater social inequalities, lack of trust between community members and for institutions, and other factors that inhibit community members from working together are associated with intergroup aggression (Norris, Stevens, Pfefferbaum, Wyche, & Pfefferbaum, 2008).

—Clayton, S., Manning, C. M., Krygsman, K., & Speiser, M. (2017). Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, and ecoAmerica.

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