Big Five and HEXACO personality traits, proenvironmental attitudes, and behaviors: A meta-analysis

Alistair Raymond Bryce Soutter*, Timothy C. Bates, René Mõttus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

With climate change and its consequences believed to be among the most vital challenges for humanity and the Earth’s ecosystem, it is important to understand why individuals do or do not adopt proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors. Personality traits are well suited for this purpose. Because no recent work has systematically combined the accumulating evidence on this topic, we aimed to meta-analyze the associations of the Big Five and HEXACO personality domains with proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors. A meta-analysis of 38 sources (N = 44,993) implicated openness and honesty-humility as the strongest correlates of proenvironmental attitudes (r = .22 and .20) and behaviors (r = .21 and .25). Agreeableness, conscientiousness, and, to a lesser extent, extraversion were also associated with proenvironmental attitudes (r = .15, .12, and .09) and behaviors (r = .10, .11, and .10). Heterogeneity among effect sizes was partly explained by samples’ gender ratio, age, and country of origin and by the personality model. P-curve analyses, funnel plots, and Egger’s tests indicated significant but sporadic and small publication bias. As a validity test, the meta-analytic associations collectively provided substantial predictive accuracy for proenvironmental attitudes (r = .44–.45) and behaviors (r = .28–.43) in independent holdout samples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-941
Number of pages29
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Early online date8 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • environmental protection
  • personality
  • climate change anthropology
  • Big Five
  • environment
  • attitude
  • behavior


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