Coping profiles in the context of global environmental threats: a person-centered approach

Sabrina V. Helm, Xiaomin Li, Melissa A. Curran, Melissa A. Barnett

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Profound environmental changes will affect vast human populations, if not pose an existential threat to humanity, raising the question how individuals will adapt psychologically to address these changes and how they manage stress and anxiety in the face of chronic threats such as climate change. We propose that ecological coping (efforts to manage adaptational demands of a degrading environment) is an important construct. Our purpose is to use a person-centered approach to identify profiles of ecological coping and to determine how these profiles differ on mental health outcomes and pro-environmental behaviors in an online survey (N = 334 U.S. adults). Using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA), we also investigate whether these profiles are explained based on general (demographics) or environment-specific (e.g., eco-stressors) factors. Results showed: (1) The identification of two profiles: Adaptive Approach Coping (P1; 69.46%) and Maladaptive Avoidance Coping (P2; 30.54%); (2) Environment-related factors (vs. health) are associated with the profiles; (3) All 6 environment-specific characteristics predicted profile membership. Future research and policy can use these profiles to develop interventions to increase pro-environmental engagement to address climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-622
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2022


  • climate change
  • ecological coping
  • ecological stress
  • Environmental change
  • person-centered analysis
  • pro-environmental behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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