Subjective connection with nature, or nature relatedness, is similar to other environmental worldview measures in predicting sustainable attitudes and behaviors, yet is unique in predicting happiness. In two studies, the authors assessed the overlap between nature relatedness and other subjective connections (e.g., with friends or country) and examined these connections as a possible confound in explaining the link between nature relatedness and happiness. Study 1 adapted a measure of general connectedness and administered it to student (n = 331) and community (n = 415) samples along with multiple nature relatedness and happiness indicators. Study 2 examined more established measures of subjective connections in another community sample (n = 204). General connectedness predicted happiness well, yet nature relatedness remained a significant distinct predictor of many happiness indicators, even after controlling for other connections. Results support the notion that nature relatedness could be a path to human happiness and environmental sustainability, though confirming this causal direction requires additional research.

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Keywords biophilia, environmental attitudes, happiness, nature relatedness, self
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Journal Environment and Behavior
Zelenski, J, & Nisbet, E.K. (Elizabeth K.). (2014). Happiness and Feeling Connected: The Distinct Role of Nature Relatedness. Environment and Behavior, 46(1), 3–23. doi:10.1177/0013916512451901