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The Impact of Climate Change on Young Adults’ Mental Health

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Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages, and Estefania Ciliotta

CfD Team Members

Other Team Members:

Sara Carr and Susan Mello


Madison Thomas and Yechan Yang, CAMD Center for Design Dean’s Fellows


This research group is seeking to understand attitudes in young adults (18-24) regarding climate change and how it affects mental health and health behaviors. The hypothesis is that the environmental risk wrought by climate change and the national conversation on sustainability likely leads to a spectrum of beliefs, behaviors, and values regarding personal agency and resilience, which are being loosely defined as climate nihilism, climate ambivalence, and climate hope.

The working group will pursue two phases of data collection using complementary, cross-disciplinary methods (i.e., Design Toolkits, Online Surveys) to explore collective and relational aspects of climate change and health. Climate may be experienced emotionally by youth in two key ways: as stress, ongoing underlying feelings of concern, malaise or anxiety, or as shocks, coping with a sudden catastrophic environmental event, like a flood, storm, landslide, or wildfire.

Research Paper Published: Carvings in stone: design research for public health investigations in the age of COVID-19