Climate change and resilience: Developmental science perspectives

Ann V. Sanson, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Climate change is a complex, multisystem phenomenon that disrupts human development both directly and indirectly through the interactions of interconnected systems. This article outlines the physical, social, and psychological impacts of exposure to climate disasters, which are already increasing in frequency and ferocity across the globe. Climate change poses particular challenges for billions of people with vulnerabilities related to geography, age, injustice, poverty, and many other social or economic disadvantages. In this article, we apply resilience and positive development frameworks to describe the resources and processes at the level of the individual, the family, and the community that can prepare and support people as they contend with the impacts of climate change. To illustrate these frameworks in action, we give examples of promising interventions that focus on mobilizing powerful human adaptive systems to build hope, agency, social cohesion, and a shared sense of belonging. We conclude by calling on developmental scientists to engage in research, interventions, and collaborative advocacy to address the unprecedented and existential threat posed by climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Climate change
  • children and youth
  • developmental science
  • resilience


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