Understanding Climate Change Adaptation: The Role of Citizens’ Perceptions and Appraisals About Extreme Weather Events

  • Samuel DomingosEmail author
  • Rui Gaspar
  • João Marôco
  • Rita Beja
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Climate change is driving dramatic environmental changes and posing new demands to citizens, health authorities, and policy makers worldwide. This is due to an increased frequency, intensity, and duration of associated extreme weather events. Recent calls for better understanding of how citizens adapt to such demands and the role that psychological processes’ play in that adaptation, have been put forward. We contributed in this regard by (1) applying the Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat (e.g. Blascovich 2008) to the study of human responses (psychological, physiological, and behavioural) to extreme weather events; (2) using it as the conceptual basis for a mixed methods study aimed at exploring citizens’ perceptions, beliefs, and appraisals of the demands posed by such events and available resources to cope with them. Preliminary qualitative results are presented and potential implications for stakeholders and policy makers in the climate change domain are discussed. An example of how such conceptual and methodological approaches may contribute to developing evidence-based strategies for incrementing citizens’ resilience and adaptation to climate change, will be provided. This allow a better understanding of citizen appraisals and perceptions’ role  in shaping adaptive behaviour, in order to provide them with the necessary personal and social resources to cope with extreme weather events and increment future resilience.


Climate change Extreme weather events Adaptation Psychological processes Coping 



The first author’s work is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia-FCT) with the grant PD/BD/128512/2017. William James Center for Research, ISPA-Instituto Universitário is supported by the FCT Grant No. UID/PSI/04810/2013.

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Domingos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rui Gaspar
    • 2
    • 3
  • João Marôco
    • 1
  • Rita Beja
    • 1
  1. 1.William James Center for Research, ISPA-Instituto UniversitárioLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Universidade do Algarve, Departamento de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais, Campus de GambelasFaroPortugal
  3. 3.Catolica Research Centre for Psychological, Family and Social Wellbeing (CRC-W), Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Universidade Católica PortuguesaLisbonPortugal

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