Quality of Life/Well-Being

P. Pensini; S. Tilley; L. Venhoeven (chair); M. Schmies. Location: A2

Go outside now! Current, not childhood, nature exposure seems to be what matters

P. M. Pensini, E. Horn, & N. J. Caltabiano

This paper explores the relationship between childhood nature exposure (NE), current NE and mental well-being in young adults. Childhood NE has been reasoned to be important for development; however, the lasting effects of childhood NE has received little investigation. Contrary to predictions, data from two studies suggests that once controlling for the effects of current NE, childhood NE is largely unrelated to the well-being of young adults. Specifically, Study 1 (Australia, N=646) found positive relationships between numerous mental well-being indicators and both childhood and current NE; however, once controlling for current NE, childhood NE largely failed to predict the well-being indicators. Study 2 (Germany, N=141) similarly confirmed the importance of current NE for well-being and also for ecological behaviour and connectedness to nature; however, the latter two variables remained marginally significant in their relation to childhood NE. Further, the relationships between NE and both well-being and ecological behaviour were mediated by connectedness to nature. These findings challenge the lasting importance of childhood NE beyond their association with current NE, and speak to the importance of current NE and a human-nature connection for the well-being of both humans and nature.

The perceptions of and frequency of visits to local urban woodlands in deprived communities amongst parents and care-givers of children

S. Tilley, E. Silveirinha de Oliveira1, & C. W. Thompson

A growing body of evidence suggests that green spaces may influence, positively, psychological wellbeing; promote physical activity and social interaction. However, many groups of people fail to visit these types of environment including women with young children. Previous research has identified strong relationship between frequent childhood visits and being prepared to visit woodlands or green spaces alone as an adult. By contrast, not visiting as a child was associated with a very low likelihood of later adult visits. This paper presents the finding of a survey undertaken in six deprived communities across Scotland in 2013 (n=2117). We focus on the frequency of visits to the woodlands by parents with children currently aged under 16 (n=569) living within 1.5km of the boundaries of their local woodlands. We also consider their perceptions of the woodlands, particularly in terms of accessibility and safety, as well as examine gender differences. Preliminary findings show that visits to the woodlands was low amongst parents. Among those with parental responsibilities, men were more likely to visit woodlands than women (p<0,05). These findings are important to set up the baseline framework as it will help to monitor what type of interventions can change perceptions and enhance access to woodlands amongst parents and care-givers of children.

Feeling good by doing good: How perceiving your actions to be meaningful elicits positive emotions

L. A. Venhoeven, J. W. Bolderdijk, & L. Steg

Recent studies suggest that engagement in environmentally-friendly behavior may have a more positive effect on one’s well-being than often seems to be assumed. Instead of (just) feeling discomfort, people who act environmentally-friendly are more satisfied with their lives (e.g. Brown & Kasser, 2005) and experience feelings of “warm glow” (Taufik, Bolderdijk & Steg, 2015). We suggest that having the feeling one is making a meaningful contribution, is an important explanation for why engagement in environmentally-friendly behavior can feel good. In this talk we will discuss several studies that test this relationship, and show that the more meaningful one’s actions are perceived to be, the more positive one feels about them. In addition, we look into individual (biospheric values) and contextual (autonomy, type of behavior) factors that influence the perceived meaningfulness of one’s actions – thereby having the potential to make engagement in environmentally-friendly behavior feel even better.

Potentialities for Happiness in a Sufficiency-Oriented Lifestyle  

M. Schmies & M. Seewald

Sufficiency proposes a sustainable way of life by voluntarily reducing consumption and material wealth. Although debates frequently draw on psychological concepts, it has only played a minor role in environmental psychology so far. Firstly, we analyzed social, political and psychological literature dealing with sufficiency. We identified psychological constructs to describe a sufficiency-oriented lifestyle on the dimensions ‘behavior’, ‘values’, ‘attitudes and beliefs’ and ‘psychological resources’. Secondly, we worked out potentialities for a happy and fulfilled life when leading such a lifestyle. Results of an empirical online survey (N = 312) support our assumptions. Constructs were operationalized by existing or adapted psychometric measures. Consistent correlations and the results of a factor analysis support the assumed relatedness of the constructs and suggest that they suit well to describe a sufficiency-oriented lifestyle. In addition the assumed connection between a sufficiency-oriented lifestyle and well-being was supported by a significant correlation between the extracted lifestyle-factor and subjective well-being. In order to foster a voluntary cultural change, it is essential to draw a positive image of a reductive modernity and its life scripts. Our work frames this issue in terms of psychology and may foster further empirical research.