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Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2191-2209; doi:10.3390/su5052191

Coping with Climate Change among Adolescents: Implications for Subjective Well-Being and Environmental Engagement

Department of Education, Uppsala University, Box 2136, 750 02 Uppsala, Sweden
Received: 13 March 2013 / Revised: 26 April 2013 / Accepted: 12 May 2013 / Published: 14 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

The objective of this questionnaire study was to investigate how Swedish adolescents (n = 321) cope with climate change and how different coping strategies are associated with environmental efficacy, pro-environmental behavior, and subjective well-being. The results were compared to an earlier study on 12-year-olds, and the same coping strategies, problem-focused coping, de-emphasizing the seriousness of the threat, and meaning-focused coping, were identified. As in the study on children, problem-focused and meaning-focused coping were positively related to felt efficacy and environmental behavior, while de-emphasizing the threat was negatively related to these measures. As expected, the more problem-focused coping the adolescents used, the more likely it was that they experienced negative affect in everyday life. This association was explained by the tendency for highly problem-focused adolescents to worry more about climate change. In contrast, meaning-focused coping was positively related to both well-being and optimism. When controlling for well-known predictors such as values and gender, meaning-focused and problem-focused coping were independent positive predictors of environmental efficacy and pro-environmental behavior, while de-emphasizing the threat was a negative predictor of pro-environmental behavior. The results are discussed in relation to coping theories and earlier studies on coping with climate change.
Keywords: global climate change; problem-focused coping; meaning-focused coping; climate change skepticism; optimism; subjective well-being; negative affect; pro-environmental behavior; environmental efficacy global climate change; problem-focused coping; meaning-focused coping; climate change skepticism; optimism; subjective well-being; negative affect; pro-environmental behavior; environmental efficacy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ojala, M. Coping with Climate Change among Adolescents: Implications for Subjective Well-Being and Environmental Engagement. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2191-2209.

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