Psychological distress among children linked to perceived government inaction on climate change

Researchers at the University of Bath surveyed 10,000 children and young adults on their thoughts pertaining to climate change and their government’s response to it, uncovering a link between distress and perceived government inaction.

The study, released in The Lancet Planetary Health, involved 10 nations, including the U.S., the UK, Australia, Brazil, France, India, and the Philippines.

The authors of the study described the implications of climate change on the health of children and young adults, implying that children are susceptible to climate anxiety as a result of perceive government response.

The input from the young participants occurred through the completion of a survey conducted between May and June of 2021.

“Descriptive statistics were calculated for each aspect of climate anxiety, and Pearson’s correlation analysis was done to evaluate whether climate-related distress, functioning, and negative beliefs about climate change were linked to thoughts and feelings about government response,” according to the study’s authors.

The results of the study led to the determination that climate change was a significant worry among the respondents of all nations included. Many reportedly experienced negative thoughts about climate change as a result of governmental responses to it.

“Climate anxiety and dissatisfaction with government responses are widespread in children and young people in countries across the world and impact their daily functioning,” the authors of the study determined.

“A perceived failure by governments to respond to the climate crisis is associated with increased distress,” their findings indicated.

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