Nature as community: An overlooked predictor of pro-environmental intentions

Michael L. Lengieza, Rosemary Aviste, Janet K. Swim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental psychologists have dedicated considerable attention to how anthropocentric (e.g., egoistic) and biocentric (e.g., biospheric) reasons for valuing the environment might differentially predict pro-environmental outcomes. Yet, there has been little attention to other reasons for valuing nature. However, work outside psychology suggests that people also value nature for community or relational reasons. Here, we create a measure of valuing nature as community (NAC) as well as complementary measures of valuing nature for people (N4P) and valuing nature for nature (N4N). In Study 1, using an undergraduate sample, we found that NAC (a) represents a distinct psychological factor from N4P and N4N, (b) does not easily map onto the anthropocentric-biocentric dichotomy, and (c) predicts unique variance in pro-environmental behavioral intentions above and beyond N4P and N4N. In Study 2, using a more general US sample, we replicate the factor structure and tests of predictive utility reported in Study 1. In Study 3, we further replicate these findings using a measure of actual behavior and differentiate NAC from connectedness to nature. Together, the results from these studies suggest that NAC is an important and distinct basis for environmental values that has been, until now, overlooked by environmental psychology. Broader implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102127
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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