Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

H. Shellae Versey

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Despite the fact that climate change is one of the most critical issues facing the global population, the implications of climate change on mental health are not widely considered. Through a comprehensive review of current publications and conversations with clinical psychologists, I summarized and critiqued current literature and current interventions used to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on mental health. I reviewed how environmental disasters often lead to feelings of disruption and loss and can cause pathological emotional and stress reactions. I investigated the psychological impacts of environmental change in general: how the threat of climate change is leading to feelings of uncertainty and apathy, and how environmental changes are affecting individuals’ physical health (both of which link to mental health issues). I further explored how vulnerable communities will be disproportionately impacted by climate change and the resulting mental health outcomes. Looking to how resilience can be built against negative mental health, I analyzed the role of media in shaping public appraisals of climate change and disasters. As a result, I proposed areas of improvement for clinicians, the media, disaster preparedness policies, and researchers, for effective mitigation of the negative mental health outcomes of climate change.

Available for download on Monday, April 15, 2024

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