Date of Award
In the midst of our evolving world, cultivating positive and reciprocal relations between humans and the natural world is essential for our wellbeing and our future. This study on national park seasonal workers (n = 203) was designed using mixed methods to further our understanding of the overlapping relationships humans and communities share with nature and the effects these have with our overall wellbeing. We hypothesized that nature contact, nature connection, sense of community, and intrinsic motivation would predict overall wellbeing, as defined by satisfaction with life, harmony in life, civic action, and diversity attitudes. Each outcome was examined separately with multiple linear regressions. Qualitative data was transcribed, meaning units identified, and then coded into major themes and sub-categories. Sample quotes provide supplemental perspectives. Results partially supported our hypotheses, with the model predicting three of four wellbeing variables, including harmony, satisfaction, and civic engagement. Of the predictors, connection to nature and intrinsic motivation were significant, whereas nature contact and sense of community were not. Qualitative analysis revealed that frequent nature contact, a sense of community and positive diversity attitudes are of central importance in their lives as park workers. Limitations of the study and implications for wellbeing and future research are discussed. These findings support the biophilia hypothesis and suggest that our connection to nature has a positive relationship with our wellbeing.
Maher, Maureen, "Parks and People: Connection to Nature and Wellbeing Among U.S. National Park Seasonal Workers" (2020). Honors Theses. 1434.
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Available for download on Thursday, May 06, 2021