“Hope isn’t actually lost yet”: A reflexive thematic analysis exploring young people’s views and feelings towards climate change

Payton, Joanna (2023) “Hope isn’t actually lost yet”: A reflexive thematic analysis exploring young people’s views and feelings towards climate change. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The psychological wellbeing impacts of climate change awareness are becoming increasingly recognised (Baker et al., 2021; Lawrance et al., 2021). Climate change has recently been highlighted as a significant issue and source of distress for children and young people (Hickman et al., 2021; Martin et al., 2022; Vergunst & Berry, 2022). However, the emerging evidence base is narrow and largely comprised of survey data. Rich and detailed accounts of children and young people’s responses to climate change (Ojala et al., 2021) and their views regarding related support are limited (Baker et al., 2021; Martin et al., 2022). Therefore, this study sought to answer two research questions: ‘what are the views, feelings, and experiences of young people concerned about climate change?’ and ‘what do young people perceive as helpful and unhelpful in supporting their climate change concerns?’

A qualitative methodology was adopted, and semi-structured interviews were carried out with five 16- and 17-year-olds who identified as being concerned about climate change. Reflexive thematic analysis generated three main themes: ‘This is really difficult’; ‘On the other hand, positive change can happen’; and ‘Strategic ways forward’. Interpretations suggested participants found the reality of the climate threat difficult and experienced a range of associated challenging emotions. However, most young people remained hopeful for the future and felt change could come with improved education and leadership. A number of influences were identified that supported the management of their climate change concerns: education focusing on empowerment; opportunities to take meaningful action; seeing climate care and compassion in people, systems, and organisations; adults as role models; opportunities for discussion; and connecting with other likeminded people. These influences highlighted implications for education settings, Educational Psychologists, Local Authorities, and government. Conclusions are discussed in relation to existing research and literature and the limitations of the study are described.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Lewis, Victoria
Keywords: Reflexive thematic analysis, young people, secondary education, post-16 education, climate change
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 74463
Depositing User: Payton, Joanna
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2023 14:32
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 14:32
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/74463

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