Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0003-4288-4695

Defense Date

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Kye Price

Abstract

Climate change has been identified as a defining issue of this century (United Nations, n.d.). Climate change impacts human wellbeing including mental health. While much research has focused on the way that the effects of climate change cause increases in common mental disorders, mental health is not just the absence of these disorders (World Health Organization, 2014). Non-pathologized mental health responses to climate change, such as the grief and loss that results from climate change impacts, are a growing consideration for researchers. Solastalgia, or the distress experienced in the absence of the solace once provided by the environment in the aftermath of environmental destruction, is one construct in the sub-field of grief and environmental change. Solastalgia has been measured using a scale developed and validated after individual events of environmental degradation or destruction. This study sought to validate the solastalgia scale with a sample of people broadly impacted by climate change using a confirmatory factory analysis, to investigate the relationship between solastalgia and the three common mental disorders most studied in relation to climate change through structural equation models, and to see how demographic factors may have influenced solastalgia scores. The findings support the use of a modified version of the solastalgia scale with a sample of people broadly impacted by climate change effects. All three structural equation models were a good fit for the data. This study provides important scientific knowledge to expand our understanding of grief and loss that results from climate change.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

5-10-2021

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