From childhood blue space exposure to adult environmentalism

Patricia Stehl, Mathew White, Valeria Vitale, Sabine Pahl, Lewis R. Elliott, Leonie Fian, Matilda van den Bosch

Nature contact in childhood is associated with pro-environmental behaviours (PEB) later in life. While previous literature focused on nature contact in general, the current work specifically explored childhood blue space exposure (coasts, rivers, lakes etc.) and potential mechanisms underlying any relationship with PEBs in adulthood. Cross-sectional data from an Austrian sample representative on age, gender, and region (N = 2,370) were used to test a serial-parallel mediation model linking recalled childhood blue space exposure to self-reported adult PEBs via, first, nature connectedness and, second, recent visits to green and blue spaces. Results supported significant serial mediation, with recalled childhood blue space exposure linked to nature connectedness in adulthood, which was in turn associated with more frequent recent visits to green and blue spaces, which in turn predicted PEB. Significant direct and indirect effects were observed, while controlling for known individual- and area-level covariates. Findings highlight the potential importance of childhood blue space exposure as well as life-long nature contact for improving nature connectedness and PEB and add to calls for protecting and maintaining natural water bodies and to improve their safety, as spending time around them in childhood may play a role in fostering PEB and ultimately improving planetary health.

Institut für Psychologie der Kognition, Emotion und Methoden, Forschungsverbund Kognitionswissenschaft
Externe Organisation(en)
University of Exeter, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, University of British Columbia (UBC), Instituto de Salud Global Barcelona, University Pompeu Fabra, Consorcio de Investigación Biomédica de Epidemiología y Salud Pública - CIBERESP
Journal of Environmental Psychology
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
501001 Allgemeine Psychologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Social Psychology, Applied Psychology
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