Place Attachment and Environmentally Responsible Behavior

  • Vaske J
  • Kobrin K
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Abstract

This article illustrates how an attachment to a local natural resource can influence environmentally responsible behavior (ERB) in an individual’s every- day life. Our study showed that 4 general (e.g., talking with others about environ- mental issues) and 3 specific (e.g., sorting recyclable trash) behavioral indicators reflected a single environmentally responsible latent construct. Following previous research, we operationalized place attachment using 2 concepts: (a) place depen- dence (i.e., a functional attachment) and (b) place identity (i.e., an emotional attach- ment). The influence of these two concepts on ERB was examined using a structural equation model. Data for this analysis were obtained from a survey of youth, 14−17 years of age (N = 182), who participated in local natural resource work programs. Results supported the predicted relationships. As hypothesized, place identity medi- ated the relationship between place dependence and responsible behavior. Place dependence influenced place identity (b = .88, p < .001, R2 = .77), and place identity was significantly related to ERB (b = .63, p < .001, R2 = .40). Overall, the model sug- gests that encouraging an individual’s connection to a natural setting facilitates the development of general ERB.

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Authors

  • Jerry J. Vaske

  • Katherine C. Kobrin

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