Mental Health and Climate Change. The Birth of Eco-Anxiety in the Spanish-Language Press


  • Isidro Jiménez
  • Javier Garcés-Prieto Association for Psychological and Social Studies
  • Samuel Martín-Sosa Salamanca University



eco-anxiety, solastalgia, mental health, climate change, covid-19, emotions, press, news, content analysis


In recent years we have witnessed a great deal of media interest in climate change, echoing the growing public concern about a complex phenomenon with daunting consequences. This pa­per examines the impact of concepts such as “eco-anxiety” and “solastal­gia” in the Spanish and Latin American written and digital press. These neolo­gisms attempt to explain the emotion­al effects of climate change on men­tal health. Between 2015 and 2019 the words “solastalgia” and “Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)” slowly made their way into the media, until 2019, when the term “eco-anxiety” became relatively successful in the newspapers. In addition to analysing the factors in­volved in the birth and evolution of this concept, the study describes the most frequently cited emotions, such as fear, anguish, stress, sadness and guilt. The results obtained indicate, on the one hand, that eco-anxiety is still a vague idea and not very present in the media, too often linked to negative emotions, in contradiction of clinical psycholo­gy advice. Meanwhile, emotions such as anger or indignation, which would enable a collective response to climate change, are often neglected.

Author Biography

Javier Garcés-Prieto, Association for Psychological and Social Studies

President of the Association of Psychological and Social Studies since 2000 and Secretary General of the Association between 1988 and 1999. Psychologist, Specialist in Clinical Psychology, holds a Degree in Laws. Director of the Well-being and Mental Health Program of the AEPS. Since 1995 he has conducted relevant studies on the psychological and social problems of the current consumer society. Author of several books and articles in specialized journals on these topics, collaborates since 1998 as a teacher and researcher in numerous academic institutions and public entities.


Albrecht, Glenn (2005). Solastalgia. A new concept in health and identity. PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, (3), 41-55.

Albrecht, Glenn; Sartore, Gina-Maree; Connor, Linda; Higginbotham, Nick; Freeman, Sonia; Kelly, Brian; Stain, Helen; Tonna, Anne, and Pollard, Georgia (2007). Solastalgia: The distress caused by environmental change. Australasian Psychiatry, 15(1), S95-S98.

Andréu, Jaime (2000). Las técnicas de análisis de contenido: Una revisión actualizada. Fundación Centro Estudios Andaluces - Universidad de Granada, 10(2), 1-34.

Apaolaza, Chapu (14 November 2021). Elogio de la ciudad hostil. La Razón, 6.

Aunión, Juan Antonio (27 June 2019). Prepararse para el desastre. El País, 32.

Australian Psychological Society (APS) (2019). Coping with Climate Change Distress. APS. 6d33-4470-415d-8acc-75f375adf2f3/coping_with_climate_change.pdf. Accessed 12 January 2022.

Boykoff, Maxwell; Meaghan Daly, and McAllister, Lucy (2021). The beat goes on? Print media coverage of anthropogenic climate change over the past three decades. Global Environmental Change, 71.

Brulle, Robert; Carmichael, Jason, and Jenkins, J. Craig (2012). Shifting public opinion on climate change: An empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the US, 2002-2010. Climatic Change, 114(2), 169-188.

Burke, Susie; Keast, Sam; Sanson, Ann, and Gridley, Heather (2017). Climate change empowerment handbook. Australian Psychological Society.

Carmona, Rocío (16 June 2018). ¿Sabías que existe el síndrome por déficit de naturaleza? La Vanguardia. Accessed 2 February 2022.

Claver, Irene (5 September 2019). Ecoansiedad: Así es como el cambio climático afecta a nuestro estado de ánimo. El País. Accessed 2 February 2022.

Clayton, Susan; Manning, Christie; Krygsman, Kirra, and Speiser, Meighen (2017). Mental health and our changing climate: Impacts, implications, and guidance. American Psychological Association (APA) and ecoAmerica.

Duggan, Joe (2020). Is this how you feel? Accessed 5 February 2022.

El Economista (28 February 2018). La AEMET cobrará por primera vez a las cofradías por la previsión del tiempo en Semana Santa. Accessed 6 February 2022.

El Espectador (17 September 2021). Cuatro de cada 10 jóvenes temen tener hijos debido a la crisis climática. Accessed 12 December 2021.

European Commission (2021). Special Eurobarometer 513. Climate Change.

Fernández Reyes, Rogelio and Jiménez Gómez, Isidro (2019). La comunicación de la mitigación del cambio climático en prensa española. In Rogelio Fernández Reyes and Daniel Rodrigo Cano (Ed.), La comunicación de la mitigación ante la emergencia climática (pp. 13-51). Egregius.

García Delgado, Belén (2016). Análisis de las secciones que ocupan las noticias sobre lectura en los periódicos: ABC, El Mundo y El País (2012). Revista Teknokultura, 13(2), 719-739.

Grau, Jordi and Guallar, Javier (2004). My News, la hemeroteca digital de la prensa española. El Profesional de la Información, 13(6), 466-476.

Hood, Marlowe (29 July 2021). Solastalgia y remolinos de fuego, cuando el cambio climático cambia el lenguaje. Yahoo! Accessed 11 February 2022.

Ibaibarriaga, Mercedes (26 December 2019). El mundo se sienta en el diván por la crisis climática. El Ágora. Accessed 7 December 2021.

Ibáñez, Isabel (2 September 2021). No se agobie por la crisis climática, mejor enójese. El Norte de Castilla, 42-43.

Lastra, Esther (4 October 2016). Lo que las (desorientadas) marcas sienten tras el Brexit se llama solastalgia. Marketing Directo. Accessed 13 January 2022.

Lauzirika, Nekane (22 September 2021). Carlos Duarte: Hay que recuperar el contrato intergeneracional para dejar un mundo mejor. Noticias de Navarra. Accessed 11 February 2022.

Losada Díaz, José Carlos; Rodríguez Fernández, Leticia, and Paniagua Rojano, Francisco J. (2020). Governmental communication and emotions in the Covid-19 crisis in Spain. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, (78), 1-18.

Martínez, Javier (18 November 2019). Es disparatado criar verduras y hortalizas en un desierto, ¿pero quién se lo dice a Murcia? InfoLibre. Accessed 13 January 2022.

Martínez Nicolás, Manuel (2020). La investigación sobre comunicación en España (1985-2015). Contexto institucional, comunidad académica y producción científica. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 75, 383-414.

Martínez Ron, Antonio (2020). Hay un riesgo de que a los ecologistas nos vean como a los nuevos curas. Voz Pópuli (29 september). Accessed 7 February 2022.

Méndez, Ernesto (18 September 2021). Ansiedad climática, un mal que aqueja a jóvenes de todo el mundo. Excelsior. Accessed 2 February 2022.

Muñoz, Andrea (27 September 2021). Ecoansiedad: Esclavos del medio ambiente. ABC, 38-39, 40-41.

Nó Sánchez, Javier and Muñiz Velázquez, José Antonio (2013). El estado de la metodología experimental en la investigación en comunicación. In Investigar la Comunicación hoy. Revisión de políticas científicas y aportaciones metodológicas: Simposio Internacional sobre Política Científica en Comunicación (pp. 123-132). Universidad de Valladolid.

Norgaard, Kari Marie (2009). Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Responding to Climate Change. The World Bank. Policy Research Working Paper 4940. https:// Accessed 18 November 2021.

Ogunbode, Charles Adedayo; Pallesen, Ståle; Böhm, Gisela; Doran, Rouven; Bhullar, Navjot; Aquino, Sibele; Marot, Tiago; Aitken Schermer, Julie; Wlodarczyk, Anna; Lu, Su; Jiang, Feng; Salmela-Aro, Katariina; Hanss, Daniel; Acquadro Maran, Daniela; Ardi, Rahkman; Chegeni, Razieh; Tahir, Hajra; Ghanbarian, Elahe; Park, Joonha (...) Lomas, Michael (2021). Negative emotions about climate change are related to insomnia symptoms and mental health: Cross-sectional evidence from 25 countries. Current Psychology, 1-10. https://doi. org/10.1007/s12144-021-01385-4

Pastor, Ana (16 May 2015). Solastalgia. El País, S Moda, 74.

Pearman, Olivia; Boykoff, Max; Osborne-Gowey, Jeremiah; Aoyagi, Midori; Ballantyne, Anne; Chandler, Patrick; Daly, Meaghan; Doi, Kaori; Fernández-Reyes, Rogelio; Jiménez-Gómez, Isidro; Nacu-Schmidt, Ami; McAllister, Lucy; McNatt, Marisa; Mocatta, Gabi; Kjerulf-Petersen, Lars; Hege-Simonsen, Anne, and Ytterstad, Andreas (2021). COVID-19 media coverage decreasing despite deepening crisis. The Lancet Planetary Health, 5(1), e6-e7. 5196(20)30303-X

Poma, Alice (2018). El papel de las emociones en la respuesta al cambio climático. Interdisciplina, 6(15), 191-214.

Poushter, Jacob and Huang, Christine (2020). Despite pandemic, many Europeans still see climate change as greatest threat to their countries. Pew Research Center, 1-37. Accessed 22 December 2021.

Rico, Javier (9 September 2016). Los niños, al campo. El País. _474862.html. Accessed 6 February 2022.

Rivas, Manuel (1 September 2019). Otro fin del mundo es posible. El País. Accessed 14 February 2022.

Rocha, Laura (16 September 2021). Ecoansiedad: El 75% de los jóvenes opina que el futuro es aterrador por el cambio climático. (https://www.infobae. com/sociedad/2021/09/16/ecoansiedad-el-75-de-los-jovenes-opina-que-el-futuro-es-aterrador-por-el-cambio-climatico. Accessed 6 February 2022.

Sampei, Yuki and Aoyagi-Usui, Midori (2009). Mass-media coverage, its influence on public awareness of climate-change issues, and implications for Japan’s national campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Global Environmental Change, (19)2, 203- 212.

Sapiains, Rodolfo; Ugarte, Ana María; Valenzuela, Catalina, and Inostroza, Valentina (13 August 2021). Reacciones al informe del IPCC: entre la ecoansiedad y las oportunidades de transformación. El Mostrador. Accessed 4 February 2022.

Soria, Cristina (3 September 2018). Puede que sufras solastalgia y tú no lo sepas. Hola. Accessed 6 February 2022.

Spanish General Council of Psychology (2019). El cambio climático: Un problema en aumento que afecta a nuestra salud mental. Infocop. Accessed 5 January 2022.

Spanish General Council of Psychology (30 September 2021). La nueva pandemia psicológica. Infocop. Accessed 5 January 2022.

Stanley, Samantha K.; Hogg, Teaghan L.; Leviston, Zoe, and Walker, Iain (2021). From anger to action: Differential impacts of eco-anxiety, eco-depression, and eco-anger on climate action and wellbeing. The Journal of Climate Change and Health, 1, 100003.

Trotti, Ricardo (7 November 2015). Sufro de solastalgia. El Universal. Accessed 8 February 2022.

WHO (5 October 2020). COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey. Accessed 28 January 2022.




How to Cite

Jiménez, I., Garcés-Prieto, J., & Martín-Sosa, S. (2022). Mental Health and Climate Change. The Birth of Eco-Anxiety in the Spanish-Language Press . Tripodos, (52), 13-33.