How to Update a State in a React Component in a Scroll Event Listener?

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Sometimes, we may want to update a state in a React component in a scroll event listener.

In this article, we’ll look at how to update a state in a React component in a scroll event listener.

Adding a Scroll Event Listener into a React Component

We can add the code to add the scroll event listener into a React component’s useEffect hook.

The useEffect hook lets us commit side effects, so it’s appropriate for using it to watch scrolling location and update a state accordingly.

For instance, we can write:

import React, { useState, useEffect, useRef } from "react";

export default function App() {
  const prevScrollY = useRef(0);

  const [goingUp, setGoingUp] = useState(false);

  useEffect(() => {
    const handleScroll = () => {
      const currentScrollY = window.scrollY;
      if (prevScrollY.current < currentScrollY && goingUp) {
      if (prevScrollY.current > currentScrollY && !goingUp) {

      prevScrollY.current = currentScrollY;
      console.log(goingUp, currentScrollY);

    window.addEventListener("scroll", handleScroll, { passive: true });

    return () => window.removeEventListener("scroll", handleScroll);
  }, [goingUp]);

  return (
        .map((f, i) => {
          return <p key={i}>{f}</p>;

We have the prevScrollY ref to store the previous value of window.scrollY so we can compare with the current scrollY value to see if we’re scrolling up or down.

Then we define the goingUp state to let us track whether we’re scrolling up or down.

Next, we add the useEffect hook with a callback that has the handleScroll function to let us compare the previous and current scrollY values.

If th prevScrollY.current value is less than the current one and goingUpis true, then we call setGoingUp to false to indicate that we’re scrolling down.

Otherwise, if we have prevScrollY.current value that is bigger than the current one and goingUp is false, then we call setGoingUp with true to indicate that we’re scrolling up.

We then set prevScrollY.current to the currentScrollY value since it’s going to become the previous value in the next render cycle.

Then we call window.addEventListener to add the scroll event listener.

window is the browser tab, so we watch the tab’s scrolling.

passive set to true means preventDefault will never be called in the event listener.

Then we return a function that calls removeEventListener to clear the scroll listener once we unmount the component.

Below that, we have an array of text we render into the page.

Now when we scroll up and down, we should see the console log log the goingUp value and the scroll Y position.


We can add a scroll event listener within the useEffect callback to listen to scrolling events.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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