Psychological ownership of nature: Relationships with pro-environmental intentions in less environmentally-oriented individuals

Xiongzhi Wang, Kelly Fielding, Angela Dean

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Broadening community participation in pro-environmental behaviors would benefit from better understanding individuals not yet concerned about nature. In this paper, we examined whether psychological ownership of nature (i.e., the feeling that nature is mine/ours) was positively associated with pro-environmental intentions and particularly, whether this association was contingent on individual differences in environmental views (e.g., new ecological paradigm, dominionistic beliefs toward nature, environmental self-identity, environmental concern, and value orientations). Based on the jiu-jitsu persuasion model, we hypothesized that psychological ownership of nature would resonate with less environmentally-oriented people but might be less effective for those already oriented. Results of a cross-sectional survey distributed to the Australian community (total N = 836) showed that psychological ownership of nature was positively related to civic pro-environmental intentions. However, there was limited evidence supporting the proposed moderation—increased levels of psychological ownership of nature were almost similarly associated with increased pro-environmental intentions for individuals across the environmental orientation spectrum. This paper contributes to the literature on psychological ownership of nature by examining its boundary conditions in nature conservation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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