University of Leicester
2022 BolandH PhD.pdf (1.41 MB)

An investigation into the relationship between climate change anxiety and attitudes towards climate actions

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posted on 2023-01-18, 13:19 authored by Heather Boland

The two chapters of this thesis are separate; therefore, shortened abstracts are presented here as an overview of each chapter. Expanded abstracts are presented in the main body of the thesis for each chapter.

Literature review

Effective interpersonal coordination between people is an essential part of social interaction. This review explored the literature that investigated the interaction between self-reported emotional experiences and Joint Action tasks, that is, tasks that require collaboration between individuals. Eleven papers were reviewed. Empathy was the most observed interpersonal, and emotional experience in the reviewed papers. Affect, anxiety, and romantic emotions were also observed. The systematic review found that participants with higher empathic traits were more likely to co-represent another person’s actions during a task, leading to task interference.

Empirical report

Climate change and its impact on our lives are causing worry and anxiety globally. To investigate climate anxiety in a local UK population, over 1000 participants completed a questionnaire that explored three research questions 1) how anxious were the local population about climate change? 2) what expectations does this population have of themselves and others with regard to climate actions, and 3) what attitudes does the population hold around the rewilding of private and public spaces as a climate action? This population reported lower levels of climate anxiety than other populations. Interactions between the age and gender of participants influenced reports of climate anxiety and attitudes towards engagement in climate actions such as rewilding.



Alice Welham

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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