Learning about global problems, such as climate change, is not only a cognitive endeavor, but also involves emotions evoked by the seriousness and complexity of these problems. Few studies, however, have explored how young people cope with emotions related to cli-mate change. Since coping strategies could be as important as the emotions themselves in influencing whether young people will acquire knowledge concerning climate change, as well as ethical sensibility and action competence, it is argued that it is important for teach-ers to gain insight into how young people cope with this threat. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore how Swedish young people – in late childhood/early adolescence (n=90), mid to late adolescence (n=146), and early adulthood (n=112) – cope with worry and pro-mote hope in relation to climate change. A questionnaire containing both open-ended and Likert-type questions was used. Using thematic analysis, several coping strategies were identified, for instance, de-emphasizing the seriousness of climate change, distancing, hyperactivation, positive reappraisal, trust in different societal actors, problem-focused cop-ing, and existential hope. Furthermore, the results show that the children used less problem-focused coping and more distancing to cope with worry than the two older groups. Con-cerning sources of hope, the children used less positive reappraisal and instead placed trust in researchers and technological development to a higher degree than the two older groups. Practical implications for education for sustainable development are discussed.
2012. Vol. 7, no 4, 537-561 p.