Factors associated with nature connectedness in school-aged children

Price, E., Maguire, S., Firth, C., Lumber, R., Richardson, M. and Young, R., 2022. Factors associated with nature connectedness in school-aged children. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, 3: 100037. ISSN 2666-6227

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Increasing people's sense of connectedness to nature has the potential to be a powerful tool in driving pro-conservation behaviours, as well as improving physical and mental health. Multi-age cross-sectional studies have shown that nature connectedness signicantly dips after early childood before recovering in adulthood. However, the precise pattern of this age-related decline is not well-described or understood. We conducted a questionnaire survey of children living on the island of Jersey, Channel Islands, using the Nature Connection Index (NCI) to identify biological, behavioural and social factors associated with nature connectedness levels. Using an information-theoretic approach, we analysed data from 17% of all Jersey's children aged between 7-18 years (N=1872) to investigate the effects of age, gender, school location and funding type. NCI levels were consistently higher in girls than in boys, and declined with age in both sexes into the early teens. Children attending schools in urban areas, particularly at primary level, had a lower mean NCI than those in rural locations. In adolescents (11-18 years), self-reported daily screen time was negatively correlated with NCI scores. Most students reported that their home was the place they preferred to relax, but the majority chose a natural environment as their favourite place. Our results confirm the marked decline in nature connectedness after early childhood but also point to interventions that may help reduce this deterioration, with associated wellbeing and behaviour change benefits.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology
Creators: Price, E., Maguire, S., Firth, C., Lumber, R., Richardson, M. and Young, R.
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Date: 2022
Volume: 3
ISSN: 2666-6227
S2666622722000041Publisher Item Identifier
Rights: © 2022 the authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Feb 2023 14:14
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023 14:14
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/48174

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