University of Twente Student Theses


Doomscrolling through Climate Change: The Mental Health Impact of Excessive Climate News Consumption

Hau, Moritz (2023) Doomscrolling through Climate Change: The Mental Health Impact of Excessive Climate News Consumption.

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Abstract:As climate change has become one of the most salient topics of the 21st century, news reports about the issue and its overall coverage are increasing. However, the effect excessive climate news consumption has on mental health is still understudied. So called “doomscrolling” through climate news is the central variable this study aims to investigate, particularly with respect to its impact on individual’s anxiety levels. It was hypothesized that doomscrolling climate change information would increase anxiety levels within participants. Furthermore, after considering data from prior research, a stronger effect for younger individuals was expected. A mixed methods approach was employed that consisted of a qualitative interview study as well as a quantitative survey study. With regards to the former, a total of 15 interviews were conducted, with 7 female and 8 male participants. The mean age was 35.6. Each interview was analyzed via a thematic analysis and different themes were formed. Subsequently, these insights were used to create a novel instrument measuring climate change doomscrolling, which was added to the already established doomscrolling scale. The quantitative study consisted of 208 total participants while 89 were female and 40 males. Mean age was 27.6. Both hypotheses were tested through generalized linear model analyses. Results of the first test were significant, thus confirming that climate change doomscrolling indeed increased the participant’s anxiety levels. Contrary to that, the second analysis didn’t show any significant effects of the age moderator variable, hence, hypothesis number two was rejected. Considering the ubiquity of climate change news, additional research into doomscrolling with regards to climate change should be conducted to expand on the currently small body of research.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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