Parul Rishi, Ruchi Mudaliar
American Journal of Applied Psychology. 2014, 2(1), 13-21DOI:
Abstract: India has been identified as one amongst 27 countries which are most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming related accelerated SLR (UNEP,1989). There is a perceived potential threat to coastal India owing to the vast sea-side development and huge populations in the vicinity of the coast. Therefore, there is a pressing need to address issues related to climate stress, adaptation, vulnerability and coping in coastal cities of India, especially from the psychological perspective. Climate change in coastal areas is associated much with flooding, SLR, land inundation, storms, cyclones etc. Coping with and adapting to climate stress are therefore issues of concern for experts worldwide. If environmental stressors persist chronically, they may lead to inner conflicts that can be psychologically disturbing for individuals and may even give rise to physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes. The established fact that anthropogenic factors account for one of the major contributors to climate change makes it necessary to probe into behavioral facets as in spite of the best possible efforts around the globe to combat climate change, it is felt that people are still not as seriously aware/ alarmed of the expected future risk as they should be. In view of above background, the present behavioral study to assess the cognitive understanding of climate change, climate stress and actions and reactions of coastal people with a special focus on behavioral adaptation and subjective well being was undertaken. The study was conducted on a sample of 150 males and female respondents mainly in four coastal cities of India namely Mumbai, Chennai, Daman and Pondicherry keeping in mind the coastal hazards and vulnerability issues associated with Indian coastal cities (TERI,1996). Especially designed Climate change perception Inventory (CCPI) based on a four-point Likert type rating scale format was used to assess the respondents’ Climate Change Awareness (CCA), Climate Stress and Emotional Concern (CSEC), Coping/Adaptation, Institutional Accountability (IA), and Coastal Subjective Well Being (CSWB). Results indicated a good level of CCA and subjective well being among coastal people. Respondents were found to be experiencing a moderate amount of climate stress and were unable to fully cope with it. They expected more efforts on the part of government and environmental institutions for adapting with climate change in coastal cities and suggested various adaptive strategies in this regard. Results were interpreted in line with article 6 of New Delhi Work Program of UNFCCC (2007) in which special effort to foster psychological/behavioral change has been stressed through public awareness.