Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2021

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


The changing climate is a situation that can be characterized by the threat of dangerous and irreparable changes to the planet. These alterations include an increase in global temperatures, food and water insecurities, extreme weather patterns, social unrest, and political conflict. Fear of the climate’s change has decreased within the past two years (2020 and 2021)—this paper will examine factors that influence the change in American climate fear. Using data from The Chapman University Survey on American Fears (CSAF)—which includes 1,035 participants—it is expected that the current downward trend in climate change fear is rooted in changes of media consumption, partisanship, and administration policies. Trend changes in the factors listed prior will be examined in context to the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition from the Obama-Biden administration to the Trump-Pence administration will additionally be analyzed. The 2016 through 2019 Fear Surveys will be compared to the 2020 and 2021 Fear Survey to gain a better understanding of the recent decrease as well. Identifying the factors that influence climate change fear will allow for future research on how to communicate climate change science to reduce high levels of climate anxiety and fear. Further research should also include the current Biden-Harris administration to better understand how American climate change fear will evolve.


Presented at the virtual Fall 2021 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University. This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.