Caring for the Earth: Generativity as a Mediator for the Prediction of Environmental Narratives from Identity Among Activists and Nonactivists

Susan Alisat*, Joan E. Norris, Michael W. Pratt, M. Kyle Matsuba, Dan P. McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although some earlier research has highlighted both the importance of generativity and feelings of a close personal connection with nature for environmental engagement, the role of these factors has not been studied in a narrative identity context. Thus, in this study, the interrelationships among narrative and questionnaire features of environmental identity and generative concern were evaluated using a mixed methods design. Features of environmental stories told by 54 environmental activists and a comparison sample of 56 nonactivists (aged 17 to 59 years) were examined in relation to standard self-report measures of environmental identity, behavior, and generativity. In addition to these quantitative measures, participants told five environmental narratives that were coded for vividness, meaning making, and impact on engagement. A summary index of these narrative codes distinguished the activists and was positively related to environmental and generative questionnaire measures. A situated environmental identity appeared to serve as a foundation for narrative engagement with the environment; however, results also highlighted generativity as a key mediating factor in this relationship across youth and midlife participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-194
Number of pages18
JournalIdentity
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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