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Under the Dome: Air Pollution, Wellbeing, and Pro-Environmental Behaviour Among Beijing Residents

  • Dian Gu (a1), Niwen Huang (a1), Maoxin Zhang (a1) and Fang Wang (a1)


The conflict between economic development and environmental protection has been made salient by increasingly severe air pollution in China, a visible consequence of the costs of rapid economic progress. How does air pollution affect people's psychological experiences? How are newly rich Chinese beginning to think about this social dilemma and are they willing to take any action to deal with the problem? Are there individual differences that contribute to the effect of air pollution on mental experience and concern for environmental protection? The present work explores answers to these questions through two studies among convenience samples of participants residing in Beijing, which is the capital of China and plagued by toxic haze. Study 1 recruited 50 undergraduates and applied a 10-day experience sampling method. Results revealed that the real-time objective air pollution index was negatively associated with immediate subjective wellbeing (SWB) but positively associated with eudaimonic wellbeing (EWB). Study 2 investigated a sample of 288 working adults living in Beijing for their perceptions of air quality, wellbeing, pro-environmental behaviour (PEB) intentions, future orientation, and place attachment. Results revealed that perceived air pollution could not predict general SWB but improved the sense of purpose and meaning in life (i.e., EWB). Furthermore, this association was heightened in individuals who were future-orientated. In addition, perceived air pollution increased PEB intentions, partially through the promotion of EWB, and this effect was stronger in those who were more emotionally attached to Beijing.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Fang Wang, School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, P.R. China. Email:


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Under the Dome: Air Pollution, Wellbeing, and Pro-Environmental Behaviour Among Beijing Residents

  • Dian Gu (a1), Niwen Huang (a1), Maoxin Zhang (a1) and Fang Wang (a1)


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