What are the Impacts of Concern about Climate Change on the Emotional Dimensions of Parents’ Mental Health? A Literature Review

Elizabeth Bechard*, Jennifer Silverstein, Jennifer Walke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Climate change threatens our mental health. While a growing body of literature highlights the impacts of climate change on the mental health of young people and the general adult public, relatively little is known about how climate change affects the mental health of parents. Through a literature review conducted with a systematic approach, this paper’s aim was to understand how climate concern affects the emotional dimensions of parents’ mental health.

Methods: This review was initially conducted in April 2022 as part of a graduate program. Searching methods aimed to identify papers addressing the impact of concern about climate change on parents’ emotional well-being. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify themes. Database searches were reconducted in April 2023 to identify new eligible papers that had been published within the past year.

Results: 25 papers met criteria for inclusion. Thematic analysis revealed three main themes:
• Parents experience emotional distress that can be described as moral injury;
• Parents use distancing strategies to cope; and
• For some parents, embracing the challenges of climate change can be a catalyst for personal growth, meaning, and hope.

Conclusions: This review highlights the need for research on how to help parents cope with climate distress, as well as a need for parent-supportive policies. Parents play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young people, who will be disproportionately burdened by the climate crisis. Understanding how to promote resilience and emotional well-being in parents is an essential part of building the well-being of future generations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Care Communications
Issue number04
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2023


  • Parents
  • Climate change
  • Mental health
  • Climate anxiety
  • Climate psychology


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