Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Environmental Studies Program

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Amy L. Seidl

Second Advisor

Rachelle K. Gould

Third Advisor

Christine Vatovec


Mental Health, Climate Change, Eco-anxiety, Likert Scale, Survey


The following undergraduate senior thesis focuses on the impacts of ecological anxiety within the 21st century—specifically, the non-uniform mental health consequences of climate change across multiple age demographics ranging from Millennials to Baby Boomers. To be precise, this research asks which of these two generations most acutely feel the cognitive impacts of climate change awareness and climatic experiences, as well as how these consequences manifest in relation to multiple distinct socioeconomic factors. Ecological anxiety represents a newfound dimension of the climate conversation, as mental and spiritual wellbeing are threatened by oncoming climate change in tandem with natural and built environments relied upon by humans. This research intends to analyze distinctions across generations regarding concentrations of & responses to ecological anxiety. I initially hypothesized that younger generations would be more susceptible to the condition compared to older adults due to newfound contemporary focus on the consequences of climate change in schools and through media. I administered a closed-form questionnaire set up through QualtricsXM and distributed it through multiple channels, ranging from physical QR codes to social media outlets (alongside entry into a raffle for a $50.00 Amazon gift card in order to incentivize participation), in order to assess responses to ecological anxiety across age demographics. Quantitative indices corresponding to ecological anxiety within the survey include awareness of ecological degradation across mediums of communication & information, relative proximity to natural areas, history in relation to extreme climatic events, and overall metrics of satisfaction as quantified on a numerical scale. This research will contribute to an improved understanding of the psychological impacts of climate change, substantiating our knowledge of those most susceptible to mental health conditions. This study is centered on the civilian experience of climate change in America, and aims to enhance collective understanding of at-risk populations regarding the mental health impacts of climate change. For the sake of clarity, climate change anxiety constitutes the primary characteristic measured, but ecological degradation resulting from said climatic events & processes are also considered as sources of potential anxiety.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.