Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Cause and effect essays describe a chain reaction, examining why something occurs and what effect is has on other things. Cause and effect essays are suitable for a multitude of subjects, including science, literature and social studies.

Social Topics

Cause and effect essays are most popular in social sciences, where the writer can explain why a particular reaction has occurred in society. For example:


  • Examine the effects of mental illness on society
  • Explain the causes of depression
  • Describe the effect of different treatments on the human body


  • Discuss the causes of the Israel-Palestine dispute
  • Explain how communism affects social well-being
  • How has the Great Depression impacted American economic policy?


  • How did colonialism affect global trade?
  • What were the causes of the United States Civil War?
  • How have Roman politics influenced modern government?

Cause-and-Effect Literary Essay

Literature showcases a character’s journey, which is influenced by internal and external events that create a story. A cause and effect literary essay examines an event within a piece of literature, and explains how it shaped the rest of the story. This can be either an actual event — such as Hester Prynne’s adultery in The Scarlet Letter — or an imagined effect — such as what would have happened to Hester if she hadn’t gotten pregnant?

Cause-and-Effect Science Essay

Natural science is filled with cause and effect relationships, from chemical reactions to biological processes that shape the world in which we live. Here are some ideas for cause and effect essays related to science:


  • How does alcohol affect the human body?
  • What causes Parkinson’s disease?
  • What effect does oxygen have on athletic performance?


  • Explain how sunlight affects the growth of plant life.
  • Describe how errors in mitosis cause mutations.
  • How does oxygen affect cell division?


  • Explain a thermite reaction.
  • How are chemical bonds formed?
  • How does heat affect the composition of water in a liquid state?


  • Provide real-life examples of Newton’s third law.
  • How does a change in mass affect force?
  • What affect does the position of the sun have on the Earth’s environment?