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Journal of Adolescence

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Adolescents -- anxiety, Climate change -- coping



Many adolescents are concerned about global and future crises, such as the health of the planet or terrorism/safety. Yet, adolescents can also express hope about the future. Thus, asking adolescents about their concern and hope could yield subgroups with different ways of coping and personal adjustment.


Australian adolescents (N = 863; age 10-16) completed surveys to report their concern (worry and anger) and hope about the planet, safety, jobs, income, housing, and technology, as well as their active and avoidant coping, depression, and life satisfaction.


Four distinct subgroups were identified using cluster analysis: Hopeful (low on concern and high on hope across all issues, 32%), Uninvolved (low in concern and hope; 26%), Concerned about the Planet (CP, 27%), and Concerned about Future Life (CFL, 15%). When compared (adjusting for age, sex, and COVID timing), the CP subgroup was highest in active coping (e.g., taking action) but moderate in personal adjustment. Hopeful had the most positive adjustment, whereas CFL had the poorest adjustment. Uninvolved were lowest in coping but moderate in adjustment.


Findings suggest ways of coping and adjustment may not always align, in that CP is connected with more active coping but also some cost to personal adjustment, whereas Hopeful is associated with optimal adjustment but perhaps at the cost of active coping. In addition, although CFL adolescents emerged as the at-risk group, the low levels of hope and coping in Uninvolved adolescents raise the possibility that they are at risk of future problems.


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2023 The Authors. Journal of Adolescence published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Foundation for Professionals in Services to Adolescents.

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