The relationship between connectedness to nature and the psychological impacts of climate change?
The psychological health impacts of extreme climate events such as fire, flood, cyclones and drought are well represented in the Literature (1-16). Connectedness to nature has been researched extensively over the past two decades suggesting a relationship between connectedness to nature and improved physical and psychological health(9,17-25).
Christine’s research will explore connectedness to nature and psychological health in a changing climate through the adaptation and application of best a practice research method.
The study aims to offer a theoretical model, for health and allied health practitioners, policy-makers and local government to better understand and respond to community level anxiety about climate change.
The Study Area and Participants
The Tasmanian Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Flinders, Dorset, Break O’Day, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Circular Head, Waratah-Wynyard, West Coast, Central Highlands, Southern Midlands and Derwent Valley have been selected based on temperature and rainfall reports and maps for Tasmania produced by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE-CRC). These reports and maps span thirty years and include comprehensive Tasmanian local government area profiles. If you live in one of these LGAs and are a members of, or affiliated with an environment, community, indigenous, business/professional or school group or association you are eligible to participate in this study. Participation in the study is voluntary and the study has been approved by the Tasmanian Social Science Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval No 12567). There are three components to the study:
- The first will involve answering some questions that we will use to measure your connectedness to nature and relationship with nature.
- The second will involve you answering some questions about how you are feeling in the moment and then thinking about climate change and its effect on you and answering a further series of questions.
- The third will involve an interview where you will be invited to share your experiences of climate change and its impact on your health and wellbeing.
If you are interested in participating in this research please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PsychHealthClim or contact Christine Materia on 03 6226 6627, or email Christine.Materia@utas.edu.au
Participants will complete Mayer and Frantz’s Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS) (26); Nisbet’s Nature Relatedness Scale (NRS) (27) and the State (STAI-S) and Trait (STAI-T) components of Spielberger’s State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) (28,29). Participants will be selected based on their level of connectedness to nature and degree of anxiety to continue with the study. Participants will be interviewed regarding their experiences of climate change and climate driven phenomena in their local area as well as their personal experiences of connectedness to nature and the psychological health impacts of climate change.
A more comprehensive understanding of the factors and interactions between connectedness to nature, climate driven phenomenon; and the psychological health impacts of climate change.
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