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Engaging With the Natural Environment

Engaging With the Natural Environment

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ARTICLE IN PRESS

Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 www.elsevier.com/locate/jep

Engaging with the natural environment: The role of affective connection and identity
Joe HindsÃ, Paul Sparks
Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, East Sussex BN1 7QH, UK Available online 17 November 2007

Abstract Research has shown pro-environmental behaviour to be positively associated with the strength of emotional connection towards the natural environment. The present study (N ¼ 199) investigated the predictive utility of an extended model of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) [Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behaviour. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211] for people’s intentions to engage with the natural environment. It was hypothesised that both affective connection and identification with the natural environment would contribute significantly to the prediction of people’s intentions. A secondary hypothesis was that participants who had grown up in rural areas would report more positive orientations towards engaging with the natural environment than would urban participants. The research found that affective connection was a significant independent predictor of intentions to engage with the natural environment. Environmental identity was only a significant predictor in the absence of affective connection in the regression model. As predicted, rural and urban participants differed significantly along the measured variables. r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Natural environment; Affective connection; Attitudes; Identity; Experience

1. Introduction Modern lifestyles have, for much of the developed world, created psychological and physical divisions between human inhabitants and the natural world. Since the 1850s, the majority of Britain’s population have made their work and home in towns and cities (Thomas, 1983). It has been argued that the result of this trend has been for many people to no longer experience the natural world directly but rather indirectly or vicariously (Kellert, 2002; Schultz, 2002). Reduced direct contact with the natural world has been labelled the ‘extinction of experience’ by Pyle (1978), which, he claims, leads to a cycle of apathy and a lack of concern with ecological issues, the natural environment and the wildlife within it. A mitigation of this modern trend, however, could have positive outcomes for the environment: Experiences in the natural environment have been found to have significant correlations with proenvironmental behaviour, such as recycling, signing petiÃCorresponding author. Tel.: +44 012 7367 8059.

E-mail address: J.hinds@sussex.ac.uk (J. Hinds). 0272-4944/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2007.11.001

tions in favour of environmental protection and using public transport (Finger, 1994). Nord, Luloff, and Bridger (1998) found strong correlations between frequency of visits to forest areas and self-reported pro-environmental behaviours such as contributing money to environmental organisations and environmentally conscious consumerism (see also Teisl & O’Brien, 2003). Similarly, intimate contact with the natural world, especially during childhood, has been suggested to be essential in forming meaningful bonds with, and promoting positive values towards, the natural environment (Chawla, 2002; Horwitz, 1996; Kellert, 2002). For instance, Bunting and Cousins (1985) found that the inclination to positively respond to nature was significantly stronger in rural children than for their urban counterparts. Their findings also revealed that children’s self-reported activity preference differed between these groups: Children higher in what they term ‘pastoralism’ were more likely to undertake activities such as hiking, camping and taking care of animals, whilst children scoring higher on ‘urbanism’ were significantly associated with just one activity: Watching television.

lower rates of sick-calls for prisoners with greater access to natural environment views have been reported (Moore. 1992). 1999. Kaplan. 2000). 1983). 155). 31). & Montada. 2003. 2003) and recycling (Mannetti. 2002. 1981) as has an increase in recovery rates for hospital patients with windows facing hospital gardens (Ulrich. Kals et al. Proshansky.ARTICLE IN PRESS 110 J. 2003). 1989). These empirical data have helped support Wilson’s (1984. Empirical research has found. Kuo. experiences of the natural environment may also foster place-identity (Manzo. There is also evidence that direct experience of an attitude object facilitates stronger attitude–behaviour consistency (Fazio & Zanna. 1. 1996).1. Fountaine. Repeated exposure to an attitude object may also be instrumental in the growth of positive affective connections with that object (cf. that engendering greater empathy towards nature tends to increase the level of connectedness people feel towards it (Schultz. Similarly. This. Hinds. affective connection and environmental identity are potentially important explanatory concepts within environmental psychology research. can create a time for self-reflexivity (Kaplan & Kaplan. 1993) ‘‘biophilia’’ hypothesis. Affective connection The importance of affect in the context of human relationships with the natural environment has been proposed by several commentators (Kals & Maes. how people see themselves in relation to the natural world (Clayton & Opotow. & Sullivan. Furthermore. culture and experience of nature to optimise biophilic tendencies (Kellert. there is still a need to be with nature: we have an ‘‘y innately emotional affiliationyto other living organisms’’ (p. 2002. a high correlation has been reported between a measure of environmental identity and self-reported environmental behaviours. these researchers have found that the stronger the environmental identity. P. For instance. on the ‘mere exposure’ effect). 2000). it has been suggested. . & Knotts. it may also be expected that those people with greater experience of the natural environment may express greater affective connections with it than with those with lesser experience. which has suggested that. Environmental identity As well as eliciting emotional bonds. Essentially. environmental identity. It has also been shown that affect can be both an important predictor of environmental attitudes and rated as more important by participants. Schumaker.2. for instance. 406). Black. 2001. Kals. such as energy efficiency (Clayton. it might be expected that affective connection would play an important part in predicting intentions to engage with the natural environment. Fe the term ‘‘topological identity’’ (p. Exposure to the natural environment may facilitate the development of emotional bonds and identification with it. requiring the addition of learning. the more positive the attitudes towards the environment. which may in turn lead to positive psychological well-being and to the formation of positive attitudes and behaviours towards the natural environment. the environment has only recently been recognised. their evaluations of that object tend to be more affectively based than they are for those people who have only indirect experience (Millar & Millar. The importance an identification with. Wilson posited that the natural world continues to influence the human condition through our previous close and enduring evolutionary relationship with it. Moreover. regarding the natural environment as a place of leisure. however. some advocates of the biophilia hypothesis who have suggested that the genetic bond may well be a weak one. in forming their attitudes to environmental issues such as logging native forests (Pooley & O’Conner. taken together. 1995). Therefore. experience of the natural environment has been reported to have various health and wellbeing benefits (Kaplan & Talbot. 1984). 1978). Wells. 1989. Zajonc. Therefore. Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 This general pattern of greater experience with the natural environment leading to more pro-environmental attitudes is compatible with the view that when people have direct experiences of an object. as a species. according to Wilson (1993). Pierro. or sense of connection to. see also Kahn. p. They also showed emotional affinity to be predicted by past and present exposure to the natural environment. and using it for restorative or respite experiences. such as public commitments to environmental organisations and the use of public transport. Positive social and cognitive outcomes may also accrue as a result of contact with natural places: Improved cognitive functioning has been reported for children who have moved from urban environments to environments considered to be characterised by higher levels of naturalness (Faber Taylor. relative to cognitions. Moreover. 2003. Proshansky (1978) defines placeidentity as the ‘‘dimensions of self that define the individual’s personal identity in relation to the physical ´ lonneau (2004) has even coined environment’’ (p. 1981). As well as promoting more positive environmental attitudes and behaviour. 1997). (1999) have demonstrated that an emotional affinity with nature is able to predict nature protective behaviour. 1997). we have an inherent affiliation to the natural environment. 45) to refer to the degree to which one feels an emotional connection with a place and the people associated with it (see also Lalli. Therefore. 2002. for example. 2000). the argument is that our technological development has been so rapid that our evolutionary adaptation to modern environments has yet to develop substantially. may lead to positive change in psychological well-being (Herzog. broadening the mainstream concept of identity formation to include. & Livi. For example. Kaplan & Kaplan. defined as ‘‘the meanings that one attributes to the self as they relate to the environment’’ has been found to have both a direct effect on environmental behaviour and an indirect effect through environmental attitudes (Stets & Biga. 2004). Similarly. 1. There are.

Richard et al. Intentions. 1992). Mladinic. Affect and the TPB Affective factors (often assessed in the form of anticipated negative affective reactions) have been demonstrated in several studies to add significantly to the TPB model (Parker. Manstead & Parker. Although the TPB has demonstrated its effectiveness as a model. for a review). the present study also undertook to discover if the prediction of environmental attitudes could be improved using measures of affective connection in addition to behavioural belief and outcome evaluation product terms. & Otto. 1998). Wilson. Stradling. 1998). intentions to recycle (Mannetti et al. 1998.3.. & White.3. P. ‘rational’. it has been shown that affective responses rather than cognitive responses have the stronger relationship with global attitudes towards blood donation (Breckler & Wiggins. there was not a significant correlation between these two factors. namely the semantic differential. 1988. Kraft. The TPB has been applied to a wide range of behavioural domains (Ajzen. There is also an influential line of argument in the literature that suggests that attitudes are often essentially affectively based (Wilson & Dunn. It is also claimed that when behavioural beliefs and outcome evaluations are taken together they may represent an indirect measure of attitude that has been shown to have high correlations with more direct measures of attitudes (Ajzen. However. 2003. The first was deemed to be reflective of participants’ cognitive evaluations and consisted of bipolar adjective-pairings such as ‘harmful–beneficial’ and ‘wise–foolish’. 2004. 2002b) including those that relate to environmental issues. Therefore. selfidentity. for some attitudes towards some behaviours or objects. Moreover. the inclusion of additional predictors should be acceptable providing they explain additional variance over and above the theory’s existing variables (Ajzen. 2003). 1989a). 1991). (1998) note that greater use should be made of specific affective reactions when assessing outcome evaluations and behavioural . and buying organic foods (Sparks & Shepherd. 1998). Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 111 1. attitudes towards a given behaviour are said to be determined by salient beliefs about behavioural outcomes (behavioural beliefs) and the evaluations of those behavioural outcomes (outcome evaluations). either affect or cognitive elements may predominate (Trafimow & Sheeran. Interestingly. An estimate of attitude is obtained by multiplying each behavioural belief with the corresponding outcome evaluation and summing the resulting products (Ajzen. 1991) and safe sex practices (Chan & Fishbein. 1994). intentions to behave in a particular way may be predicted by strength of attitude towards that behaviour. the affective dimension of attitudes was found to be a highly significant predictor of health behaviour independently of the impact of the more cognitive dimensions (Ajzen & Timko. Richard et al.1. 1. 1989a. 2001). the extent to which the behaviour is perceived to be compatible with perceived social approval and the degree to which the behaviour is perceived to lie within one’s personal control. Ajzen. 1988). & Manstead. whereas the anticipated affective measure may account for a significant amount of the variance in behaviour. For example. measured with a 20-item semantic differential scale.. 1995. The role of attitude measurement (within the TPB framework). in particular in relation to the distinction between affect and cognition within attitudes. The theory of planned behaviour The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) proposes that people act or behave in accordance with their intentions towards particular behaviours providing they perceive some degree of control over implementing those behaviours (Ajzen. Trafimow & Sheeran. comprised two distinct factors. Moreover. For example. For example. 1999). the attitude measure may be made redundant in its predictive capacity. moral obligation. it has been used to good effect in predicting adoption of green energy and increased bus use (Bamberg. French et al. subjective norms and perceived behavioural control (PBC) (Ajzen. 1993. in terms of its predictive utility. & Schmidt. Richard. de Vries.ARTICLE IN PRESS J. The second was deemed to be reflective of more affective judgements with item pairings such as ‘pleasant–unpleasant’ and ‘interesting–boring’. 1995. Consequently. Hinds. seen as proximal predictors of behaviour. Manstead & Parker. 1995). 2002a). p. It has been proposed that current methods of measuring attitudes within the TPB have a tendency to capture cognitive. Thus. 2005. van der Pligt. Dunn. & van der Pligt. 1988). and past behaviour (Eagly & Chaiken. Hogg. van Dijk. van der Pligt. Ajzen (2002a) has proposed that the direct method for assessing attitudes. de Vries. For example. 1998. & Richard. They also tend to be used when researching topics that are ‘‘heavily affectively laden’’ (Conner & Sparks. 1996. Richard. Terry. from the inclusion of variables such as identity and affect (see Conner & Armitage. are in turn dependent upon three separate factors: attitudes towards the behaviour. 1989). 1986. 1991). 1993. 1995. 1986). 1998). & de Vries. & Lisle. Within the TPB. Zeelenberg. (1998) demonstrated that when anticipated affective reactions and attitudinal measurements remain distinct factors in questionnaire protocols. Richard et al. the determinants of attitudes within the TPB (Ajzen. there is a plausible assumption that. Bamberg. each of which was argued to be measuring discrete aspects of the same attitudes. 1995). Although it has been argued that it is very unlikely that there can ever be ‘pure’ cognitive and affective elements of attitudes (Eagly. 149) such as leisure activities (Ajzen & Driver. should elicit both cognitive and affective aspects of attitudes. several researchers have shown that the TPB may benefit. Ajzen and Timko (1986) found that attitudes towards generally recommended health practices. evaluations but not affective dimensions of attitudes (Conner & Sparks.. has provoked much debate (Breckler & Wiggins.

subjective norm. a working definition of ‘‘Engaging with the natural environment’’ was presented as ‘‘being in and actively participating in areas and settings produced by nature. 1996). Their mean age was 21. the present research focussed on three key hypotheses. Materials All participants received an identical four page questionnaire concerning ‘‘Attitudes and the Natural Environment’’. The most frequently reported responses were included in the main questionnaire. Behavioural beliefs and outcome evaluations Eight behavioural beliefs about engaging with the natural environment were constructed from an initial belief elicitation pilot study.. 1998). such as woodland.2. Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 beliefs in order to fully appreciate the independence of affective beliefs from more cognitive beliefs. Reverse coding of variables was carried out where appropriate. with a sample of undergraduate students (N ¼ 30). mountains. 1999.. Participants Participants (N ¼ 199. Mannetti et al. 1. Following the instructions. P. see also Charng. Method 2. we expected that environmental identity would also be found to be a significant independent predictor of participants’ intentions. female ¼ 166.1. we expected that participants from rural backgrounds. some applications with positive affective reactions have been reported (Richard. valleys. 2. The questionnaire assessed the central concepts of the TPB as well as a number of additional measures. Participants represented a convenience sample. some of which are not reported here. 1992. Terry et al. Sparks & Guthrie. 1988. 1999. It has been noted. Therefore. 1. 1998. Kals et al. we expected that a sense of affective connection with the natural environment would be found to be a significant independent predictor of participants’ intentions to engage with the natural environment (because such affective experience is not well represented within standard TPB variables). UK. All responses were recorded on seven-point Likert-type scales (response scale end points are indicated in parentheses). identification.. 2004) we define affective connection with the natural environment as the subjective experience of an emotional attachment with the natural environment. 2. because of their potential greater exposure to the natural environment. These were: ‘‘My engaging with the natural environment wouldy’’ ‘‘allow . Therefore. there has been some criticism that measures of identity merely act as proxies for past behaviour (Charng et al. The aim of this measure was both to avoid items that could be construed as proxy indicators of intentions and behaviours and to represent aspects of identity that are more ‘personal’ than many of the more ‘role-based’ forms of identity that are often addressed in this kind of research (cf. that the effect of identity as a predictor may vary according to the target behaviour in question (Conner & Armitage. & de Vries. participants were asked to indicate the type of location in which they grew up: ‘‘In which area did you spend most of your childhood?’’ with three possible responses.2. On the basis of the above considerations. both within a natural-environment research focus and within the methodological framework of the TPB. ‘Urban’ (n ¼ 71). First. would be distinguished from urban participants by having significantly more positive ratings for behavioural intentions. For instance. Although this research area tends to be dominated by the assessment of negative affective reactions. rivers and forests’’. 2003) or intentions (Fishbein. It would also appear that environmental identity and affective connection combined with key TPB variables may be important predictors of intentions to engage with the natural environment. Mayer & Frantz. Hinds. Second. identifying the antecedents of intentions to engage with the natural environment may be seen as a useful contribution to the literature.2. 2. however. PBC. coastal areas.3. Piliavin.2.4. 2. van der Pligt. and ‘Rural’ (n ¼ 36). because of the relative scarcity of an assessment of affect (positive affect in particular) in the literature. Sparks and Shepherd (1992) found that identifying strongly as a green consumer contributed significantly and independently to intentions to consume organic vegetables.7 years (range 18–53).. In order to further inform the natural-environment psychological literature regarding the importance of environmental identity (cf.ARTICLE IN PRESS 112 J. attitudes. Stets & Biga. and for similar reasons.g. Drawing on previous research (e. Childhood location Following questions relating to age and gender. as well as facilitating positive psychological well-being. and affective connection. 1997). male ¼ 33) were undergraduate social science students at the University of Sussex. The present study From the research literature it appears that experience of the natural environment may elicit positive environmental attitudes and behaviours. Finally. 2004). conducted according to Ajzen’s (2002a) guidelines. Moreover. in that that they agreed to participate in the study in return for course credits as part of the requirements of their degree programme. hills. Identity and the TPB Self-identity often seems to represent an important addition to the TPB (Sparks & Shepherd. 2003) a different kind of measure of identification with the natural environment was included in the present study. & Callero. 1988). Clayton & Opotow. ‘Suburban’ (n ¼ 90).2.1.. lakes. it is important to try and clarify the importance of affective connection.

00. F change ¼ 98. subjective norm. However. 2.1. p ¼ 0.1 2.2. PBC (step 3).80). F change ¼ 20. ‘‘I shall make an effort to engage with the natural environment in the next two weeks’’ (definitely false and definitely true).2. behavioural intentions.93) was used to form a composite measure of intentions.001.6.12) nor 1 It must be noted that the original intention was for these items to measure aspects of ‘ecocentric’ attitudes (Thompson & Barton. 3. ‘‘make me feel happy’’. ‘‘be too isolating’’. an examination of the collinearity statistics revealed that each predictor variable fell within the acceptable boundaries of tolerance (40.65.2. Perceived behavioural control PBC was measured with the items ‘‘How much control do you have over whether or not you engage with the natural environment’’ (no control and complete control) and ‘‘It is mostly up to me whether or not I engage with the natural environment’’ (strongly disagree to strongly agree).88) was used to form a composite measure of attitudes. The mean of these items (a ¼ 0. The mean of these items (r ¼ 0. ‘‘It makes me sad to see natural environments destroyed’’. P. The model was a significant predictor of intentions to engage in the natural environment. po0. Affective connection Affective connection was measured with the items (adapted from Thompson & Barton. ‘‘For me. subjective norm and PBC. p ¼ 0. The mean of these items (a ¼ 0. Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 113 me to experience beautiful scenery’’. and ‘‘I intend to engage with the natural environment in the next two weeks’’ (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Field. po0. given their clear affective content. Results show that there were significant percentage change in the variance explained by the inclusion of attitudes. engaging with the natural environment would bey’’ (extremely bad to extremely good. extremely foolish to extremely wise. a series of t-tests found no differences between males and females on the extended TPB variables. The mean of these items (a ¼ 0.3.001) and affective connection (b ¼ 0.ARTICLE IN PRESS J. which simply asked participants to evaluate each of the outcomes mentioned in the behavioural belief items. F change ¼ 9.4. anchored at the end points only. Additionally. subjective norm (b ¼ 0. Environmental identity Identification with the natural environment was measured with the three items ‘‘I see myself as someone who empathises with the natural environment’’. most people who are important to me would probablyy’’ (disapprove strongly to approve strongly).002. 1994). extremely unpleasant to extremely pleasant and extremely unenjoyable to extremely enjoyable).80. These were followed by the eight corresponding outcome evaluation questions. po0. indicate that although some correlations are deemed to be high (Cohen. environmental identity (step 4) and affective connection (step 5). 1994). ‘‘be inconvenient for me’’. R ¼ 0. attitude. and the added constructs of environmental identity and affective connection (see Table 1).23. ‘‘be an uncomfortable experience’’.69. environmental identity. extremely harmful to extremely beneficial. subjective norms (step 2).5. and ‘‘I identify with the natural environment’’ (strongly disagree to strongly agree).001.2. Hinds. There was no significant incremental contribution to the model from PBC (Table 2).2. engaging with the natural environment gives me a greater sense of who I am’’. Responses were recorded to the statement.8.91.28. . 2. thus ruling out any substantive multi-collinearity (cf.2. ‘‘Being out in nature is a great stress reducer for me’’ and ‘‘I need time in nature to be happy’’ (strongly disagree to strongly agree).49) was used to form a composite measure of subjective norm.001. ‘‘For me. po 0. Final beta values show significant independent predictive effects for attitude (b ¼ 0.002).63) was used to form a composite measure of PBC. 3. 2.7. ‘‘help me escape the stresses of life’’. 1988) there was only one extreme case. po0.002) but not for PBC (b ¼ 0. namely that between affective connection and identification (r ¼ 0. p ¼ 0. The mean of these items (r ¼ 0. However. standard deviations and inter-correlations for the TPB constructs.3) and the VIF coefficient (o10).001 and affective connection. 2000). F change ¼ 15. Behavioural intentions Behavioural intentions were measured with the three items ‘‘I shall try to engage with the natural environment within the next two weeks’’ (definitely shall not try and definitely shall try). Predicting behavioural intentions A hierarchical regression was carried out of intentions to engage with the natural environment on attitudes (step 1).08. although the sample was predominantly female.75) was used to form a measure of environmental identity. 2. we consider them good indicators of affective connection to the natural environment. Results Means. Subjective norm Subjective norm was measured with two items: ‘‘Most people who are important to me probably think that I should engage with the natural environment’’ (strongly disagree to strongly agree) and ‘‘If I were to engage with the natural environment. Attitudes Attitudes were assessed using a five-item semantic differential measure. The mean of these four items (a ¼ 0. ‘‘Sometimes when I am unhappy I find comfort in nature’’. 2. ‘‘Please evaluate each of the followingy’’ (extremely bad to extremely good). and ‘‘help promote environmental awareness’’ (extremely unlikely to extremely likely). ‘‘give me a sense of connection with nature’’.77) was then used to form a measure of affective connection. p ¼ 0.22.

22Ãà 0.004. p ¼ 0. 3.05.14. affective connection. affective connection and subjective norm had a positive relationship with behavioural intentions towards engaging with the natural environment: those with a strong affective connection with the natural environment reported being more likely to engage with the natural environment.12 – 5 0. l largest ¼ 0.11 1.56ÃÃà 0. indicated that there were no overly high inter-correlations between predictor variables (see Table 3).019).20ÃÃà 0.91ÃÃà 15. independent predictor of intentions. behavioural belief and outcome evaluation product terms will be referred to as beliefs for the remainder of the paper. Univariate one-way ANOVAs are reported in Table 5 for childhood location for each of the variables. As the prediction for this comparison is directional.63 0. and environmental identity) MANOVA carried out to determine if there were differences on the extended TPB variables according to childhood location revealed a significant overall effect of childhood location.3 and affective connection. the first hypothesis was supported in that affective connection was found to be a significant. attitudes.48 0. 4.30.04 5.12. Predicting attitudes Means.86 5. 5. p ¼ 0. 5.45ÃÃà 0. PBC. suburban.28Ãà environmental identity (b ¼ 0.45 0. P.84 20.11. p ¼ 0. However. 3. 3.74 5.18 5. Hinds. Results show that affective connection (b ¼ 0.05 0. Moreover. as did participants who perceived social approval about engaging with it. po0.13.33ÃÃà 0.84 1.51 SD 1.58 0. 4.61ÃÃà 0. Although able to account for an additional 1.001. subjective norm.80Ãà Final b 0.23Ãà 0.01 0. the second hypothesis regarding the predictive utility of environmental identity was only supported when affective connection was not included in the regression analysis. ÃÃà po0. Predictor Attitudes Subjective norm Perceived behavioural control Environmental identity Affective connection R 0.61ÃÃà 0.37ÃÃà 0.38 0.10 1. standard deviations and inter-correlations for attitudes.48 Increment to R2 0.43. Beliefs and affective connection accounted for 54% of the variance in attitudes.023) and the ‘‘help promote environmental awareness’’ belief (b ¼ 0. Moreover.33 0. F(6.03 F change 98.011) were each significant independent predictors of attitudes (Table 4). Behavioural intentions Attitude Subjective norm Perceived behavioural control Environmental identity Affective connection à po0.13. Ãà po0.00ÃÃà 9.03 1.80ÃÃà – M 4. the effect of childhood location on intentions as a independent significant predictor was marginal (b ¼ À0. the ‘‘allow me to experience beautiful scenery’’ belief (b ¼ 0.001.17à 0. 2 0.2 Therefore. ÃÃà po0. the ‘‘be inconvenient for me’’ belief (b ¼ 0.33 0. po0. 191) ¼ 3.15. The influence of childhood location A 3 (childhood location: urban. 2 product terms.40 5. .01.03.2.00 – Table 2 Hierarchical regressions of intentions to engage with the natural environment (N ¼ 199) Step 1.43ÃÃà – 4 0.08 0.20). it appears that the more positive participants’ attitudes.12 0. 2.22Ãà 0.58ÃÃà – 3 0.69 R2 0.09). rural)  6 (extended TPB variables: behavioural intentions. 3. 6.001).62ÃÃà 0. the greater their intentions to engage with the natural environment.62 0.67 0. behavioural belief and outcome evaluation Dummy variables were computed using ‘Rural’ as the baseline measure with this beta weight representing the effect of dummy variable one: the difference between ‘Rural’ and ‘Urban’ on intentions.5% of the variance in the model (Fchange ¼ 4.01. a hierarchical regression was also carried out of attitudes to engage with the natural environment on all of the beliefs (step 1) and affective connection (step 2). p ¼ 0. p ¼ 0.39 0.ARTICLE IN PRESS 114 J.06 0.16à – 6 0.027). As an additional analysis. p ¼ 0. 2.3. Ãà po0. these results remained largely unaffected after controlling for childhood location. Thus. Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 Table 1 Descriptive statistics and inter-correlations for the extended TPB variables (N ¼ 199) 1 1.65ÃÃà 2. the given p values have been corrected by a factor of 2 to 3 For ease of exposition.

84 3.77.45 3. p ¼ 0. 115 2 0. ‘Make me feel happy’ 4.98 1.21Ãà 0.69 3. p ¼ 0. stronger behavioural intentions.50ÃÃà 0. Pooley & O’Conner. R 0.05.093.30ÃÃà 0. Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 Table 3 Inter-correlations and descriptive statistics for attitudes.195) ¼ 2. Discussion The present findings concur with natural-environment focused research regarding the importance of the inclusion of measures of affect (Kals & Maes. Participants from rural childhoods reported more positive affective connections.0064 and.46.44Ãà 0.46ÃÃà – 3 0. Levene’s test for homogeneity is assumed unless otherwise stated. the present study. the findings also support both the Kals et al.49 F change 22. F(2.15à 0.28ÃÃà 0.51ÃÃà 0. Although Kals et al.32. for PBC.71 1. 2002). ‘Help me escape the stresses of life’ 6. and greater PBC about engaging with the natural environment than did participants with urban childhoods. ÃÃÃpo0.73 0. F(2.12 2. P.08 – 6 0. 4.19Ãà À0. Kellert.70 R2 0.14à 0. (1999) argument that past experience of the natural environment has an important role to play in the formation of positive affective relationships .85 4.26Ãà 0.08 0.11 0. Affective Connection à po0.31Ãà 0. There were significant effects for behavioural intentions.30ÃÃà 2.62ÃÃà 0.005.25Ãà 0.12 0.001. Attitudes 2.37Ãà 0.13à 0.58Ãà À0.15à – 8 0. However.195) ¼ 5.11 0. Predictors ‘Beautiful scenery’ ‘Make me feel happy’ ‘Be too isolating’ ‘Help me escape the stresses of life’ ‘Sense of connection with nature’ ‘Uncomfortable experience’ ‘Be inconvenient’ ‘Promote environmental awareness’ Affective connection à po0. ‘Sense of connection with nature’ 7.31Ãà 0.08 0.05. F(2. 2000). Field.088.54 0. F(2. 1996. (1999) suggest that past and present experience of the natural environment predicts positive emotional affinity with it. The present findings are also congruent with the research literature that addresses the importance of the development of meaningful bonds with the natural environment during childhood (Bunting & Cousins.46Ãà 0.41.26 3. 1999. 2002.30Ãà – 9 0.13 0.195) ¼ 2. ÃÃpo0. more acceptable subjective norm.51Ãà – 4 0. There was no main effect for attitudes. Horwitz.09 0.09 0. p ¼ 0. Hinds. the contrast between urban and rural participants revealed that for all variables rural participants gave significantly higher ratings than did urban participants (see Table 5).07 0.52ÃÃà Final b 0.79 0.49ÃÃà – 7 0. The hypothesis that participants from a rural childhood would differ significantly from urban participants in terms of the research variables was clearly supported. Therefore. beliefs and affective connection (N ¼ 199) 1 1.35 1.24ÃÃà 0.82 5. Thus.57 3. 2002.24Ãà 0. in 4 Equal variances not assumed. stronger identification. Chawla.48Ãà 0. 0.14 – 5 0. for subjective norm.195) ¼ 2.04 0. ‘Beautiful scenery’ 3. ÃÃÃpo0.00 – Table 4 Multiple regression of attitudes towards engaging with the natural environment on beliefs (step 1) and affective connection (step 2) (N ¼ 199) Step 1.195) ¼ 5.50ÃÃà 0. the present findings support Kals and Maes (2002) and Kals and colleagues’ (1999) work regarding the importance of affective connection in natural-environment issues.. F(2.08 3. more positive attitudes.49 Increment to R2 0. p ¼ 0.01 0. the greater one’s intentions to engage with it.30Ãà 0. 1985.16à 0.44ÃÃà give one-tailed values (cf.51.ARTICLE IN PRESS J.31Ãà – M 5.23 3.08 0. this observation is extended by indicating that the more one has an affective connection with the natural environment. marginally. Kals et al. p ¼ 0.06 À0.001.73 3.136. F(2.01 – 10 0. ‘Be an uncomfortable experience’ 8.08 À0.065 and affective connection.35ÃÃà 0.57Ãà 0.51 SD .74 5.34 3.42 5.50Ãà À0. ‘Be inconvenient’ 9. ‘Be too isolating’ 5. 2000).04 17.57ÃÃà 0. ‘Promote environmental awareness’ 10.02.01.45Ãà 0.15à 0.195) ¼ 2. p ¼ 0. environmental identity.

Urban) 1 tailed. 1996. This may be explained by the particularly high correlation between affective connection and environmental identity in the model. following Ajzen’s (1991) comments regarding the openness of the model to additional predictor variables. 2003). 1998. or role-based identity which have frequently been used in previous TPB work (however. as measured here. such as experiencing individual emotional connections to place (Clayton & Opotow. Although the inclusion of affective connection had a significant independent predictive contribution.12ÃÃÃÃ (SD) (0.65) (1.05. 1996.20) Environmental identity M 5. Sparks & Shepherd.02 (1. Manzo. Sparks & Guthrie. might explain additional variance in the model over and above that explained by the TPB and by affective connection.37 (SD) (1. Hinds. Mannetti et al. which is relatively high compared to many previous TPB findings (see Armitage & Conner.83 (SD) (0. Significance levels refer to Contrast 2 (Rural vs.85ÃÃÃ (1. Zajonc.49) 5..11) 5. People may form environmental identities that have a strong social component. The study also finds support for a significant and independent role of affective connection in predicting people’s intentions to engage with the natural environment.. an argument from these findings for the inclusion of an assessment of additional affective factors within an extended TPB model.001. the framing of the environmental identity items used for the present study may require critical attention.01. 2001). It has been remarked. ÃÃÃÃ po0.03) Perceived behavioural control M 5. Other forms of environmental identity may reflect minimal social influence or engagement.88) 5.. The present study revealed that our extended TPB model could account for almost half of the variance in intentions to engage with the natural environment.47 (1.95) Urbana (N ¼ 71) 4. The measure of identification incorporated in the present study reflects a more personal form of identification rather than the kinds of social. Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 Table 5 Means and standard deviations for the extended TPB variables by childhood location showing contrasts significant levels with Rural as the referent group Rural (N ¼ 36) Behavioural intentions M 5.90) a b 4. Stets & Biga. the suggestion that people often identify with what they care about (Frankfurt. could have been encapsulated by the affective measure. 2003. such as belonging to and actively participating with environmental groups and community environmental programmes. as has been advised by Ajzen and Fishbein (2005). that identification with the natural environment lies along a social continuum with some environmental identities evidencing far fewer social associations than others (Clayton & Opotow. Moreover. It is also possible that the strength of an environmental identity may well be different for participants with differing degrees of previous exposure ´ lonneau. suggests that it should perhaps be considered as an additional predictor for the TPB model. such as social or role identity.. when not only the standard TPB predictors of intentions but also when a measure of environmental identity are included in the regression model.15) 5. Certainly. for instance.51 (SD) (0.ARTICLE IN PRESS 116 J.. Richard et al. the inclusion of environmental identity into an extended TPB model as a predictor of intentions to engage with the natural environment failed to explain any unique variance once affective connection was included. Terry et al. P. The results show that affective connection explains an additional 8% of the variance in intentions to engage with the natural environment. 1999).82 5. 2003).41ÃÃ (0.07) 5.06.99) Significance levels refer to Contrast 1 (Rural vs. 1998. with it and more theoretical work on the role of direct and repeated exposure to an attitude object and affect (Millar & Millar.39) 5. In fact this finding along with the predictive effect of affective connection on attitudes indicates both a direct and an indirect effect of this variable on people’s intentions. This was borne out in the current findings. to the natural environment (Fe 2003). Parker et al. 2001).98 (1. As affective connection was a significant predictor it would seem that elements of environmental identity. The significant contribution of affective connection to the attitude object.09) Affective connection M 5. Moreover. 1993. ÃÃ po0.45Ã (1. ÃÃÃ po0. It might be suggested therefore that the inclusion of other forms of identity. the results are informative regarding the utility of the TPB as a theoretical framework within a natural environment research focus.08ÃÃ (1. There is. such as the natural environment in the present study.99 (SD) (0. Suburban) 2 tailed. 1988.68Ã (0.03) 5. 2004.11ÃÃ (0.48ÃÃÃÃ (1. 1988) would be entirely consistent with this interpretation..99) Suburbanb (N ¼ 90) 4. see Mannetti et al. therefore.67ÃÃ (0. the breadth of behaviours for which such an additional variable may be a useful predictor clearly merits empirical exploration. with .35) Attitudes M 5. 1995).36 (SD) (1. previous researchers who have utilised measures of identity and found them to be significant predictors in various models have done so without the inclusion of explicit measures of affect (Charng et al. However.78) Subjective norm M 5. 1992. 2004). thus supporting previous suggestions in this regard (Chan & Fishbein. Ã po0.80) 5. Interestingly. 2004.

Some studies have found little in the way of gender differences in regard to concern about pollution (Lyons & Breakwell. Eliciting reasons for. the possibility that the quality of affective connection that motivates people towards engaging with the natural environment might be beneficial for affect-based psychological well-being (Herzog et al. the present sample was predominately female and there remains the possibility that this asymmetry may have influenced the pattern of results. & Tomera.. Shriver. may be an artefact of the framing of the initial belief elicitation study (French et al. Sparks & Guthrie. 2000) through the demonstrated contribution that affective connection and beliefs can have in predicting attitudes towards engaging with the natural environment. Jessop. Our sample was predominantly female. The study sample consisted of undergraduate social science students. unpublished manuscript. at a more theoretical level. Moreover. Hungerford.. viz. In particular. 2002). & Aldrich. 1998). However. Zelezny. to list the advantages and disadvantages of engaging with the natural environment (Ajzen. Kaplan & Talbot. Bamberg et al.. correlations between variables exceeding 0.g. 2007. not a representative sample of the general population. Zanna & Rempel.ARTICLE IN PRESS J. based upon the TPB guidelines. 2000). P. 1994). 1986. & Sparks. a finding that has received some degree of support elsewhere (Stern. The degree to which the present findings might be generalised to a wider population should also be considered. A more detailed assessment of environmental experience is warranted in order to make more assured statements about the relationship between experience of the natural environment and positive perceptions about it (see Nord et al. the deficit in the predictive utility of beliefs. Bunting and Cousins (1985) reported that females were more likely to respond favourably to the natural environment than were males. The current findings support research that has shown the importance of both beliefs and affect in predicting environmental attitudes (Pooley & O’Conner. has indicated a positive relationship between implicit or subconscious connections with nature with explicit environmental attitudes (Schultz. 1998). There may also be some concern regarding the intercorrelations between predictor variables described in the present study. Ulrich. the addition of affective connection explained a further 10% of the variance in attitudes. Churchill. or. Similarly. care should be taken not to extrapolate these results beyond our sample until further research can determine the extent to which the present findings have broader applicability. 1983. Clarke. Research in the domain of the natural environment. Although this was indeed the case in the reported research.. Therefore. the summed products of behavioural beliefs and corresponding outcome evaluation should be significant determinants of attitudes towards behaviours. & Kalof. (1993). 2000. There are some caveats to be considered with regarding the findings generally. as noted by Stern et al. there remains within the TPB framework a large body of research that suggests that correlations of this magnitude are relatively common-place (Bamberg. it has been argued. It is noteworthy that the affective connection items used here which comprised items such as. 1999). Dietz. Wilson. 2002b). there is a degree of inconsistency in the literature in this regard. are more affectively driven compared to other attitudes (Pooley & O’Conner. highlighted here by contribution of affective connection. However. 1993. may be especially suboptimal ways of assessing the antecedents of people’s attitudes in such cases (Trafimow & Sheeran. Hinds. 2003. According to Ajzen (2002a. as in the present study.. Automatic or gut reactions associated with direct measures of attitudes may therefore tap aspects of attitudes that are more affective in nature and which represent important fundamental dimensions of attitudes towards some attitudinal objects. Chua.50 in social psychological research tend to indicate high levels of intercorrelation. 1983) as well as having the potential for engendering positive environmental attitudes and behaviour. Tabanico. However. and undertaking responsible environmental behaviours (Hines. Schultz. 2000). As pointed out by Cohen (1988). may tap more cognitive aspects of attitudes. despite no differences being found between males and females on the extended TPB variables. 1995). Sparks / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 109–120 117 participants from rural backgrounds having stronger identification with the natural environment than did participants from urban backgrounds. ‘‘being out in nature is a great stress reducer’’ seem to tap aspects of affective wellbeing. 2005. 2002a). for example. childhood location. Wilson et al. Coupled with the multi-collinearity analysis which indicated no overly problematic overlap between variables. Norman. 1989. On a related theme. the high correlations reported here raise little cause for concern. the relationship between attitudes and behavioural intentions is such within the TPB that meta-analyses reveal consistently high inter-correlations (e.. There remains. r ¼ 40. it is interesting that the role of unconscious processes in judgement and decision making has attracted much recent attention within the discipline (Gigerenzer. . Participants are asked. 1988). & Khazian.50) (Sheeran & Taylor. Manstead and Parker (1995) suggest that belief-based attitudes towards a behaviour may represent more deliberative reactions compared with more automatic reactions associated with direct measures of attitudes (cf. asking people to consider their reasons. 2005). The present study also used a rather rudimentary measure of environmental experience. Wilson & Dunn. 1998. rather than focussing on feelings towards the target object. & Walker. 1997. therefore. Manstead & Parker. 2003. 1986/1987). 2004). These findings also add weight to the literature on the importance of the study of affect in environmental psychology where attitudes towards environmental issues. advantages and disadvantages of engaging with the natural environment. As has been contended by Wilson et al. (1989).

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