ijerph-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022 | Viewed by 14324

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Alan E. Stewart
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Counseling and Human Development Services & Department of Geography – Atmospheric Science Program, The University of Georgia, Athens, United States
Interests: psychology of weather and climate; weather salience; weather-related risk-taking; weather perception; weather-as-events; global climate change; weather and emotional processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

People are increasingly experiencing severe or extreme weather events that can be attributed to global climate change. Similarly, the cumulative effects of altered temperature and precipitation regimes can create personal, social, or economic impacts that develop and evolve over time. What are the psychological impacts of such single and multiple events as a result of climate change? Here, psychological impacts encompass not only changes in the emotional responses of individuals, but changes in perceptual processes, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors in response to experienced or anticipated climate change. This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health invites the submission of quantitative or qualitative empirical research that addresses this question and in so doing reveals something novel about peoples’ psychological relationships with weather or climate. Although research on global climate change is integrative and multidisciplinary, submissions for this special edition should be primarily psychological in nature and possess implications for mental and/or physical health. Individual people or families should be the units of analysis used in submitted research. Some illustrative topics for this Special Issue are:

  • Changes in environmentally sustainable behavior following weather- or climate-related experiences;
  • Changes in peoples’ relationships with place(s) as the climate of that place changes;
  • Changes in perception, thinking, or reasoning about climate change following the experience of a severe or extreme weather event;
  • Studies of individual traits or characteristics that may be helpful in adjusting to the impacts of climate change.

Prof. Alan E. Stewart
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • affect/emotion
  • climate change
  • human cognition
  • individual differences
  • meaning-making
  • personality traits
  • psychological adaptation
  • weather risk-taking
  • weather salience

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Article
Identifying Types of Eco-Anxiety, Eco-Guilt, Eco-Grief, and Eco-Coping in a Climate-Sensitive Population: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2461; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042461 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1463
Abstract
Background: Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and it can affect mental health either directly through the experience of environmental traumas or indirectly through the experience of emotional distress and anxiety about the future. However, it is [...] Read more.
Background: Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and it can affect mental health either directly through the experience of environmental traumas or indirectly through the experience of emotional distress and anxiety about the future. However, it is not clear what possible subtypes of the emerging “psychoterratic” syndromes such as eco-anxiety, eco-guilt, and eco-grief exist, how much distress they may cause, and to what extent they facilitate ecofriendly behavior. Methods: We analyzed semi-structured interviews (N = 17) focusing on the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to climate change by using a combination of inductive and deductive qualitative methods. Results and conclusions: The interviews revealed six eco-anxiety components, eight types of eco-guilt, and two types of eco-grief that help to understand the multifactorial nature of these phenomena. The six categories of coping strategies are in line with traditional coping models, and they are linked in various ways to pro-environmental behavior and the management of negative emotions. The results can help practitioners to gain a deeper understanding of emotions related to climate change and how to cope with them, and researchers to develop comprehensive measurement tools to assess these emotions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Media Exposure to Climate Change, Anxiety, and Efficacy Beliefs in a Sample of Italian University Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 9358; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18179358 - 04 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1703
Abstract
The climate crisis poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of individuals. For many, climate change knowledge is derived from indirect exposure to information transmitted through the media. Such content can elicit a variety of emotional responses, including anger, sadness, despair, [...] Read more.
The climate crisis poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of individuals. For many, climate change knowledge is derived from indirect exposure to information transmitted through the media. Such content can elicit a variety of emotional responses, including anger, sadness, despair, fear, and guilt. Worry and anxiety are especially common responses, usually referred to as “climate anxiety”. The main objectives of this study were to analyze how exposure to climate change through the media relates to climate anxiety and individual and collective self-efficacy, and to evaluate the relationship between climate anxiety and efficacy beliefs. A total of 312 Italian university students (aged 18–26 years) participated in the research by filling out an anonymous questionnaire. Participants reported being exposed several times per week to information about climate change, especially from social media, newspapers, and television programs. Moreover, the results showed that the attention paid to information about climate change was not only positively related to climate anxiety, but also to individual and collective self-efficacy. Most notably, participants’ efficacy beliefs were found to be positively related to climate anxiety. This somewhat controversial finding stresses that, in the context of pro-environmental behavior changes, a moderate level of anxiety could engender feelings of virtue, encouraging people to rethink actions with negative ecological impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Article
Psychometric Properties of the Climate Change Worry Scale
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020494 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2431
Abstract
Climate change worry involves primarily verbal-linguistic thoughts about the changes that may occur in the climate system and the possible effects of these changes. Such worry is one of several possible psychological responses (e.g., fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma) to climate change. Within [...] Read more.
Climate change worry involves primarily verbal-linguistic thoughts about the changes that may occur in the climate system and the possible effects of these changes. Such worry is one of several possible psychological responses (e.g., fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma) to climate change. Within this article, the psychometric development of the ten-item Climate Change Worry Scale (CCWS) is detailed in three studies. The scale was developed to assess proximal worry about climate change rather than social or global impacts. Study 1 provided evidence that the CCWS items were internally consistent, constituted a single factor, and that the facture structure of the items was invariant for men and women. The results from Study 1 also indicated a good fit with a Rasch model of the items. Study 2 affirmed the internal consistency of the CCWS items and indicated that peoples’ responses to the measure were temporally stable over a two-week test–retest interval (r = 0.91). Study 3 provided support for the convergent and divergent validity of the CCWS through its pattern of correlations with several established clinical and weather-related measures. The limitations of the studies and the possible uses of the CCWS were discussed. The current work represents a starting point. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Investigating Connections between Need for Cognitive Closure and Climate Change Concern in College Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5619; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155619 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
Understanding how people’s worldviews and individual personality differences affect their thinking about anthropogenic climate change is critical to communication efforts regarding this issue. This study surveyed University of Georgia students to investigate the role that need for cognitive closure plays in level of [...] Read more.
Understanding how people’s worldviews and individual personality differences affect their thinking about anthropogenic climate change is critical to communication efforts regarding this issue. This study surveyed University of Georgia students to investigate the role that need for cognitive closure plays in level of climate change worry. The relationship between these two was found to involve suppression—a subset of mediation—by the social dimension of political conservatism. Political conservatism was also found to play a mediating role in the relationship between need for cognitive closure and support for governmental and personal climate solutions. However, social conservatism played this mediator role in women, and functioned as a suppressor for men. These findings help inform audience segmentation and creation of climate-related messages based on audience worldview and personality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
#Climatechange vs. #Globalwarming: Characterizing Two Competing Climate Discourses on Twitter with Semantic Network and Temporal Analyses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031062 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2308
Abstract
Distinct perceptions of the global climate is one of the factors preventing society from achieving consensus or taking collaborative actions on this issue. The public has not even reached an agreement on the naming of the global concern, showing preference for either “climate [...] Read more.
Distinct perceptions of the global climate is one of the factors preventing society from achieving consensus or taking collaborative actions on this issue. The public has not even reached an agreement on the naming of the global concern, showing preference for either “climate change” or “global warming”, and few previous studies have addressed these two competing discourses resulting from distinct climate concerns by differently linking numerous climate concepts. Based on the 6,662,478 tweets containing #climatechange or #globalwarming generated between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2018, we constructed the semantic networks of the two discourses and examined their evolution over the decade. The findings indicate that climate change demonstrated a more scientific perspective and showed an attempt to condense climate discussions rather than diffuse the topic by frequently addressing sub-topics simultaneously. Global warming triggered more political responses and showed a greater connection with phenomena. Temporal analysis suggests that traditional political discussions were gradually fading in both discourses but more recently started to revive in the form of discourse alliance in the climate change discourse. The associations between global warming and weather abnormalitiessuddenly strengthened around 2012. Climate change is becoming more dominant than global warming in public discussions. Although two discourses have shown more similarities in the rank order of important climate concepts, apparent disagreements continue about how these concepts are associated. These findings lay the groundwork for researchers and communicators to narrow the discrepancy between diverse climate perceptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Review
A Scoping Review of Interventions for the Treatment of Eco-Anxiety
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9636; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189636 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2984
Abstract
As climate change worsens and public awareness of its grave impact increases, individuals are increasingly experiencing distressing mental health symptoms which are often grouped under the umbrella term of eco-anxiety. Clear guidance is needed to enable mental health professionals to make informed choices [...] Read more.
As climate change worsens and public awareness of its grave impact increases, individuals are increasingly experiencing distressing mental health symptoms which are often grouped under the umbrella term of eco-anxiety. Clear guidance is needed to enable mental health professionals to make informed choices of appropriate interventions and approaches in their eco-anxiety treatment plans. A scoping review was conducted to examine the current understanding of eco-anxiety and related intervention options and recommendations. The review included 34 records, 13 of which reflected specific psychological approaches. A thematic analysis of the content of the selected records yielded five major themes across interventions for individual and group treatment of eco-anxiety: practitioners’ inner work and education, fostering clients’ inner resilience, encouraging clients to take action, helping clients find social connection and emotional support by joining groups, and connecting clients with nature. Recommendations for treatment plans are to focus on holistic, multi-pronged, and grief-informed approaches that include eco-anxiety focused group work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Systematic Review
Understanding the Spectrum of Anxiety Responses to Climate Change: A Systematic Review of the Qualitative Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 990; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020990 - 16 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1173
Abstract
Background: Knowledge about climate change may produce anxiety, but the concept of climate change anxiety is poorly understood. The primary aim of this study was to systematically review the qualitative literature regarding the scope of anxiety responses to climate change. The secondary aim [...] Read more.
Background: Knowledge about climate change may produce anxiety, but the concept of climate change anxiety is poorly understood. The primary aim of this study was to systematically review the qualitative literature regarding the scope of anxiety responses to climate change. The secondary aim was to investigate the sociodemographic and geographical factors which influence experiences of climate change anxiety. Methods: A systematic review of empirical qualitative studies was undertaken, examining the scope of climate change anxiety by searching five databases. Studies were critically appraised for quality. Content analysis was used to identify themes. Results: Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The content analysis was organised into two overarching themes. The scope of anxiety included worry about threats to livelihood, worry for future generations, worry about apocalyptic futures, anxiety at the lack of response to climate change, and competing worries. Themes pertaining to responses to climate change anxiety included symptoms of anxiety, feeling helpless and disempowered, and ways of managing climate change anxiety. Relatively few studies were identified, with limited geographical diversity amongst the populations studied. Conclusions: The review furthers understanding of the concept of climate change anxiety and responses to it, highlighting the need for high-quality psychiatric research exploring its clinical significance and potential interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop