The resilience paradox: flooding experience, coping and climate change mitigation intentions

Abstract

Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity and unpredictability of extreme weather events across the globe and these events are likely to have significant mental health implications. The mental health literature broadly characterises negative emotional reactions to extreme weather experiences as undesirable impacts on wellbeing. Yet, other research in psychology suggests that negative emotional responses to extreme weather are an important motivation for personal action on climate change. This article addresses the intersection of mental health and functional perspectives on negative emotions, with a specific focus on the potential that reduced negative emotional responses to extreme weather may also translate to diminished motivation to undertake climate change mitigation actions – which we term the ‘resilience paradox’. Using survey data gathered in the aftermath of severe flooding across the UK in winter 2013/2014, we present new evidence indicating that self-appraised coping ability moderates the link between flooding experience and negative emotions and thereby attenuates the indirect link between flooding experience and climate change mitigation intentions. We conclude that support for flood victims should extend beyond addressing emotional, physical and financial stresses to include acknowledgement of the involvement of climate change and communication of the need for action to combat future climate risks.

Description

open access article

Keywords

climate change, Extreme weather, flooding, risk, resilience

Citation

Ogunbode, C. A., Böhm, G., Capstick, S. B., Demski, C., Spence, A., and Tausch, N. (2019) The resilience paradox: flooding experience, coping and climate change mitigation intentions. Climate Policy, 19(6), pp.703-715.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute for Psychological Science