Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly L'Engle


As the negative impacts of climate change become more and more common across the United States, many youth are experiencing eco-anxiety or other negative mental health impacts due to the state of the environment. Engaging with activism has been named as a potential mitigator of the negative impacts of climate change among youth, but the relationship between activism and youth well-being is an emerging area of research. To explore this relationship, this scoping review explored and synthesized available literature to inform the next steps. In addition to the community-level and society-level contributions that come from youth activism, there are also a number of individual-level benefits for the youth themselves, including improved mental health outcomes, increased knowledge and skills related to activism, and greater empowerment and connectedness. There is also evidence that activism can negatively impact the mental and physical well-being of youth due to increased stress, criticism, and burnout. However, knowing why youth are motivated to be active helps center their expected outcomes and goals. Research suggests that youth are motivated to take action because of negative direct experiences with climate change and how their communities experience climate change. These motivations are influenced by the personal identities of youth and how connected they feel to their communities. Applying this knowledge to research, interventions, and policy changes can mitigate the negative consequences of activism. Recommendations include further research, facilitating connection and centering activism on local issues, and increasing accessible activism opportunities, and building youth agency.