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AN EXAMINATION OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON STUDY HABIT OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

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AN EXAMINATION OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCE OF  CLIMATE CHANGE ON STUDY HABIT OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Climate change, characterized by long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, has emerged as one of the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century. The consequences of climate change are far-reaching, affecting not only the physical environment but also human health, economies, and societies at large. Among these impacts, the psychological effects on various population groups, including students, have become a critical area of concern. Additionally, one of the most vulnerable groups to the impacts of climate change are children and young people specifically, students (Berry et al, 2018). As they are still in a critical stage of physical, cognitive, and social development, they are more susceptible to the health risks posed by extreme weather conditions and other climate-related hazards. Whitmarsh & Capstick (2018)asserts that climate change induces a variety of psychological responses. These responses range from acute stress and anxiety due to immediate threats such as extreme weather events, to chronic stress arising from prolonged exposure to climate-related news and the anticipation of future risks. However, this phenomenon has led to the emergence of terms such as "eco-anxiety" and "climate grief," which describe the distress associated with the perceived environmental crisis. Students, particularly those who are environmentally conscious, may experience significant anxiety about the future of the planet. This anxiety  lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, which interferes with daily activities, including academic responsibilities. Students who experience such events face trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), significantly affecting their ability to concentrate and perform academically (Reser, Bradley & Ellul, 2017). Anxiety and stress can impair concentration. Students preoccupied with thoughts about climate change may find it difficult to focus on their studies. This lack of focus can lead to inefficient study sessions and lower academic performance. In other to manage their anxiety and stress, students may adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as increased screen time, substance use, or social withdrawal. These behaviors can further detract from effective study habits. Despite the wide range of climate change's visible physical effects and the challenges in attributing local human-impacting events to climate shifts, the potential for adverse outcomes calls for a precautionary approach (Patz, J.A., et al., 2017). Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to examine the psychological influence of  climate change on study habit of undergraduate students.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Climate change is a highly consequential global issue that poses extensive consequences for human societies. Education is a sector that is especially susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Substantial data indicates that climate change is presently exerting an influence on educational institutions and the academic achievements of students. For instance, a recent study revealed that increasing temperatures and severe weather phenomena are interrupting school days and resulting in students' absence from classes. 

The impacts of climate change on education are extensive and potentially catastrophic. Short-term extreme weather events can cause significant harm to school infrastructure, resulting in heightened expenses for repairs and reconstruction. Over time, climate change has the potential to worsen the already existent disparities in both the availability and the standard of schooling. According to Abbas & Hussaini (2022), climate change is having a negative impact on students’ physical and mental health, as well as their ability to study. These impacts are felt most keenly by low-income students who are already at a disadvantage in the society. Similarly, the physical health effects of climate change include heat stress, respiratory problems from air pollution, increased risk of vector-borne diseases, and increased frequency of extreme weather events like floods. All of these impacts can lead to missed school days and decreased academic performance.Moreover, the potential exists for escalating temperatures and other alterations in regional climates to render specific regions of the world unsuitable for human habitation, thereby significantly impacting global education systems. Considering the gravity of the problem, it is evident that measures need to be implemented to alleviate the impact of climate change on education. Although, several potential answers encompass investing in robust infrastructure, offering assistance to displaced students, and augmenting financial aid for students from low-income backgrounds. Furthermore, studies have indicated that climate change have a greater impact on low-income pupils and students in developing nations, as they are more susceptible to experiencing the adverse effects of climate change directly (Hussaini, 2022). Prior studies have primarily concentrated on the tangible effects of climate change on physical well-being, such as respiratory ailments and illnesses caused by excessive heat. Nevertheless, an increasing amount of scholarship is being dedicated to exploring the psychological impacts of climate change. Also, research has demonstrated that climate change can result in notable mental health difficulties, especially among susceptible demographics, such as young individuals (Clayton et al.,2017; Cunsolo & Ellis, 2018). An example of this is a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, which emphasized that climate change is leading to a rise in mental health problems such as anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A separate study, published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, has revealed that the effects of climate change on mental health are significant and extensive, with a particular vulnerability observed among students. Additionally, the research on the influence of climate change on students' academic performance and study habits is still in its early stages. Initial results indicate a connection between climate-induced psychological distress and reduced academic achievement. For instance, a survey done among college students in the United States unveiled that those who expressed significant levels of climate anxiety also experienced challenges in upholding their study habits and academic performance (Wu,Snell & Samji, 2020) . Nevertheless, any endeavours to tackle the matter would require meticulous planning and execution in order to provide desired results. Hence, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to examine the psychological influence of  climate change on study habit of undergraduate students.

 1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the psychological influence of  climate change on study habit of undergraduate students. Specifically, the study will;

Investigate the level of awareness about climate change on study habit among undergraduate students

Examine the psychological impact of climate change on students' study habits

Evaluate the coping mechanisms used by undergraduate students to manage climate-related anxiety and stress in studying.

1.4  Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

What is the level of awareness about climate change and its impact on study habits among undergraduate students?

What is the psychological impact of climate change on students' study habits?

What coping mechanisms do undergraduate students use to manage climate-related anxiety and stress in their studies?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

H0: Climate change has no significant psychological influence on the study habits of undergraduate students.

Ha: Climate change has a significant psychological influence on the study habits of undergraduate students.

1.6 Significance of the Study

 Government and policymakers will use the study findings to advocate for the inclusion of mental health education and support services in educational policies and programs, recognizing the importance of addressing climate change's psychological impacts on students.Also, the study will help students understand how climate change-related concerns impact their mental well-being and study habits, allowing them to develop coping strategies and seek support if needed. Moreover, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. 

1.6 Scope of the study   

The scope of this study is boarded on the psychological influence of  climate change on study habit of undergraduate students. Empirically, this study will investigate the level of awareness about climate change on study habit among undergraduate students,examine the psychological impact of climate change on students' study habits and evaluate the coping mechanisms used by undergraduate students to manage climate-related anxiety and stress in studying.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to undergraduates in Lagos State University.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.9 Definition of Terms

Study Habits: an action such as reading,taking notes, holding study groups which the students perform regularly and habitually in order to accomplish the task of learning

Academic Performance: is defined as the performance of’ students in academic endeavor, which could be good or bad.

Climate change:  refers to significant and lasting changes in the Earth's climate patterns over extended periods, typically decades or longer. 


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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