Date of Award:

6-18-2012

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gayle S Morse

Abstract

The current study examined the relationships among connectedness to nature (CTN), quality of life (QOL), and mental health (MH). Theory in biophilia and ecopsychology has emphasized the importance of the human relationship with the natural world for the health of individuals, our species, and our planet as a whole. Previous research has documented the relationship between experiences in nature and outcomes of health and well-being. However, scant research has examined the correlates of the concept of CTN. Furthermore, no research has examined the relationship between CTN and measures of well-being such as QOL or MH. In the current study, 267 undergraduate students completed a series of self-report items measuring CTN, QOL, MH, and demographic characteristics. Significant relationships between CTN and all categories of dependent variables (QOL, MH, and demographics) were found. In addition, the subcategory of CTN closely related to the desire for direct experiences in nature, NR experience was shown to have a stronger relationship to QOL and MH than overall CTN--as evidenced by more significant correlations and by serving as a better predictive model through multiple regression. QOL, MH, and demographic variables were collectively found to predict 21% of the variance in overall CTN, while those same variables were found to predict 35% of the variance in NR experience. Implications of these findings based on previous research, limitations of the current study, and future avenues of research are discussed.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on July 31, 2012.

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