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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


ARRUE, Rodolfo Sapiains  y  UGARTE CAVIEDES, Ana María. Psychology's contributions to address the human dimensions of climate chamge in Chile (First part). Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.1, pp.91-105. ISSN 1668-7027.

Multiple studies show that the integration of social and psychological factors in the design, implementation and evaluation of mitigation and adaptation strategies is paramount to address the complexities of climate change. Such factors influence both the perception of the problem and the responses to it in every social system. Considering a multi-level approach encompassing institutional, communitarian and personal dimensions, the inclusion of these psychological aspects can help to increase the importance of climate change in society, favor a deeper community engagement, improving public policies, and strengthen individual, social and institutional resilience. Although Chile is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world regarding climate change impacts, presenting seven out of nine vulnerability criteria, the study of the social and psychological dimensions of climate change in our country is limited and its importance for policy-making generally unknown. In such a context we organized a literature review aimed at exploring how Psychology can contribute to address the human dimensions of climate change in Chile considering a wide range of topics. To do this a reasonable high number of specialized databases and scientific journals were used. As a result of this work we expect to encourage scholars from diverse disciplines, not only psychologist, to dig deeper on these issues in the Chile an and Latin American context to fill this gap in the knowledge. The literature review showed that most research has been conducted in developed countries such as United States, Australia, and United Kingdom. This is expected considering the high levels of political polarization about climate change in those countries, either regarding the causes of the problem, the actions needed to address it, or even if it is happening or not. Contrariwise, we only found a reduced number of articles addressing specifically the psychological aspects of climate change in both Latin America and Chile. Interestingly, mainly scholars from other disciplines generally related to environmental management, planning, Sociology and other social sciences, rather than psychologists, have conducted those studies in the region, most of them focused on issues such as social vulnerability, inequalities, poverty alleviation, political participation and agriculture in rural and indigenous communities in the context of droughts or water management related issues. Results of this review are presented in two parts covering five main topics reflecting the most relevant issues identified in the interaction between psychological factors and climate change in the literature. Part one presents a short introduction on climate change impacts in Chile and the high level of vulnerability of our country given by geographic, environmental and social factors. Then we explain the link between Psychology and environmental problems in general, describing the main issues covered by two specialized sub disciplines called Environmental Psychology and Conservation Psychology. After that we present four sections summarizing the main findings of the literature review. These include the complexities of climate change communication; beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors; psychological drivers and barriers for climate change action; and the emergent study of the impacts of climate change and mental health. This sets the basis for a framework to organize and encourage research in this area and to integrate this knowledge in policy-making in the Chilean context. Overall, this review suggests that psychology's contributions to address climate change challenges will improve our understanding of the complex relationship between people and nature in general and society and climate change in particular. However, to have a significant impact in policy-making, psychological studies need to be part of wider multidisciplinary teams and work at multiple levels, specially close to communities and public institutions avoiding an excessive experimentalism and academicism preventing isolation from society.

Palabras clave : Climate change; Psychology; Chile; Pro-environmental behaviors; Adaptation.

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