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March 2023 Wrap-Up: The Behaviorism of Climate Anxiety


Hello and welcome back to another blog post by The World We Once Knew! This wrap-up publication focuses on the psychological patterns of a new buzz term known as, “climate anxiety,” which is encompassed within the field of climate psychology.


The Origins of “Climate Anxiety”-- What Is It?


Over the past decade, the scientific community has observed a skyrocketing volume of individuals, specifically children, who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. However, psychologists have finally gathered and have played a large role in the development of this buzz term in psychology, known as climate anxiety.


Climate anxiety can most simply be defined as “the fear and worry of the state of our planet and its future.” Symptoms of climate anxiety are often characterized by major depression, helplessness, a sense of hopelessness, and a multitude of sleepless nights, or insomnia.



Moreover, as citizens are constantly exposed to extensive news coverage concerning the adverse effects of climate change, such as increased drought, desertification, and less precipitation, individuals are experiencing disturbed psychological patterns within their everyday lives.m



Climate Anxiety and COVID-19:


During the era of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, the international community had undergone great emotional toll, including massive rises in anxiety and stress disorders amongst citizens. A recent survey from the University of Pittsburgh surveyed that approximately 55.3% of healthcare workers suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Additionally, this leads to a positive correlation of burnout within healthcare workers.


Amongst individuals began the fear of the air; oftentimes, the main fear was environmental pollution. People began to perceive the air as infiltrated due to the rapid spread of this virus amongst the global population.


Additionally, although a weak correlation, official international meta-analysis data indicates that possibly, for each 1°C increase in temperature led to a 9% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. An extent of psychological meta-analysis data reveals that there is a positive correlation between both these variables.


However, aside from environmental factors, a great deal of information also lies within socioeconomic factors, namely population density, and urbanization, have also led to a strong increase of cases of psychological patients with climate anxiety.


Conclusion


The subfield of climate psychology is rapidly developing; however, more areas of research must be discussed. It is imperative that this psychological perspective be analyzed from both a quantitative and socio-economic lens, to bring out more innovation in the fields of neuropsychology and to mitigate the intimidating effects of global warming and climate change



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