Deprived households are often exposed to poorer environmental qualities (Bolte, Bunge, Hornberg, Köckler, & Mielck, 2012). In this paper this phenomenon is analyzed from a coping perspective. This is due to the basic assumption that differences in the capacity to cope with a local environmental stressor are one reason for this unequal distribution of environmental quality. The core question to be addressed is therefore: Which factors predict whether and how exposed groups cope with their local environmental quality?

In a first step a theoretical model named MOVE (Model on Households’ Vulnerability towards their local Environment) has been developed(Köckler, 2011). As this model is to predict coping behavior of identifiable groups, the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991) is its core element.

The Actual Behavioral Control within the Theory of Planned Behavior is assumed to have a high explanatory value, as it includes factors like income, education or knowledge of the legal system. These are also factors that might lead to the disadvantage of households. To enrich the Actual Behavioral Control basic ideas of the Conservation of Resource Theory (Hobfoll, 1989), which is a stress theory, are integrated into MOVE.

MOVE is the theoretical framework of a telephone survey being carried out in winter 2010/2011 in the Ruhr-Area, that reached about 300 households. The quoted survey aimed at reaching households in polluted and less polluted neighborhoods equally. The Ruhr Area is a densely populated agglomeration in western Germany with high social and environmental gradients. With regard to socially disadvantaged groups the quoted survey aimed at reaching Turkish migrants in polluted and less polluted neighborhoods. Regarding environmental quality there is a focus on noise (Lden) and air pollution (PM10; NO2). Concerning the coping behavior so called institutional coping has been focused on. Institutional coping includes different kinds of involvement and initialization of political procedures with a desired impact on the local environment.

The analysis within multiple linear regression shows, that the Perceived Behavioral Control has a major influence on coping intention and behavior. Furthermore different resources, based on Hobfolls Conservation of Resource Theory, have been identified as significant to predict Perceived Behavioral Control. In addition to well-known environmental justice variables of deprivation like household-income other variables like Communal Mastery and Social Networks produced explanatory value in the model.