Coping with climate change: Bringing psychological adaptation in from the cold
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ABSTRACT The chapter addresses the neglect of psychological coping and adaptation and the psychological impacts of the threat of climate change in the context of climate change science approaches to adaptation and mitigation. Current theoretical approaches and research engagements utilizing stress and coping models, environmental stress formulations, and disaster preparedness and response frameworks are examined to assess their relevance to the issue and global threat status of climate change. Perspectives examined include recent work on future oriented thinking and proactive coping, as well as applications of psychological models such as protection motivation in the climate change science literature. Challenges for a stress and coping approach to the phenomenon and threat of climate change are not only the encompassing global and very complex nature of climate change, its geographic and temporal distance and horizons, and the profound implications of climate change for life support systems and human communities, but also inherent limitations with respect to effective problem-focused coping at individual or community levels in the face of such an ongoing global threat and changing climate systems. A further and related challenge for coping approaches addressing the threat of climate change is that we are dealing with largely indirect and virtual exposure and experience to ubiquitous media and popular culture representations and coverage of a global threat and emergency, and a polarized and highly charged information environment and risk domain, suffused with uncertainty and aggregated symbolic meanings. As well the nature and status of climate change is arguably that of an ongoing, background, environmental stressor of profound consequence, an environmental threat and condition not typically addressed by conventional coping frameworks. The considerations and conclusions offered are informed by a current cross-national research initiative examining public risk perceptions, understandings and responses to the intertwined threats of climate change and natural disasters in Australia and Britain, with cross-reference to North American research. These findings are particularly revealing with respect to the intersections and relative importance of direct and indirect exposure and experience, the nature of psychological coping and adaptation processes, already current and extensive psychological impacts, and implications for policies and interventions.
Handbook of the psychology of coping: Psychology of emotions, motivations and actions
Psychology not elsewhere classified