The Relationships between Adolescents’ Climate Anxiety, Efficacy Beliefs, Group Dynamics, and Pro-Environmental Behavioral Intentions after a Group-Based Environmental Education Intervention
Abstract: The present study examined the relationship between adolescents’ efficacy beliefs (both personal and collective), climate anxiety (as measured with climate worry), group dynamics during an environmental intervention, and behavioral intentions in a setting where their agency was called upon. Data were collected in French-speaking Switzerland during and after four environmental education interventions during which adolescents developed climate-related projects or narratives in small groups. Questionnaire data (N = 150 adolescents) were matched with observations (from group dynamics) and interview data (from teachers). Self- and collective efficacy, climate anxiety, citing group work as a most interesting part of the intervention, and observed group attention were all positively related to stronger pro-environmental intentions. In addition, feeling involved in the group was also indirectly related to pro-environmental behaviors, through climate anxiety. Overall, our results suggest that being worried about climate change has the potential to translate into climate action. In addition, working in small groups has clear benefits for adolescents.
Keywords: adolescents / climate anxiety / climate change / collective efficacy / environmental education interventions / pro-environmental behaviors / self-efficacy / sustainability
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