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Connectedness to nature, personality traits and empathy from a sustainability perspective

Abstract

Given the relationship between attitudes and behaviors (Frymier and Nadler 2007), perceptions toward the environment are of concern in shaping environmental behaviors. Accordingly, understanding how to improve people’s connection to nature may be a vital research area linked to sustainability efforts. To further this understanding, the present study examined the contribution of empathy in mediating the relationship between personality traits and connectedness to nature. The Big Five Questionnaire, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index and the Connectedness to Nature Scale were administered to 230 Italian workers. The results indicated that the relationship between the personality traits of agreeableness and openness and connectedness to nature is mediated by empathy, in particular by perspective taking and empathic concern. Given that empathy is amenable to training, compared to more stable personality traits, the results suggest that empathy may be a promising area for further research and intervention with the goal of increasing connectedness to nature and valuing of the environment among adults in the workplace.

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Correspondence to Annamaria Di Fabio.

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All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Annamaria Di Fabio declares that she has no conflict of interest. Maureen E. Kenny declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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Di Fabio, A., Kenny, M.E. Connectedness to nature, personality traits and empathy from a sustainability perspective. Curr Psychol 40, 1095–1106 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-0031-4

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Keywords

  • Connectedness to nature
  • Empathy
  • Personality traits
  • Sustainability
  • Primary prevention perspective