Climate change is negatively affecting people’s health, safety, and well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to understand whether people perceive they have the capacity to adapt to climate change. Most studies on whether people can adapt to climate change focus on preventing negative outcomes and the ability to ‘bounce back’. We propose that adaptation may have positive consequences too. We introduce the construct of transilience to capture people’s perceived capacity to persist, adapt flexibly, and positively transform in the face of climate change risks. We developed a scale to assess transilience in the context of climate change risks and conducted four empirical studies to validate it. Overall, the findings support the content, concurrent, discriminant and predictive validity of the transilience scale. People generally perceive they can be transilient in the face of climate change risks, and higher transilience is, as expected, positively related to climate change adaptation actions and general well-being. Our findings indicate that people perceive adapting to climate change can, not only minimize harm, but also provide beneficial opportunities. Theoretical implications and future directions are discussed.

Can we do more than “bounce back”? Transilience in the face of climate change risks

March 2023
Journal of Environmental Psychology
Valentina Lozano Nasi, Lise Jans, and Linda Steg

Valentina Lozano Nasi, Lise Jans, and Linda Steg