Environmentalism as a Context for Expressing Identity and Generativity: Patterns Among Activists and Uninvolved Youth and Midlife Adults

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous qualitative studies have identified themes of generativity and identity development in the interviews of environmental activists (Chan, ; Horwitz, ), suggesting their importance as motives for environmental behavior. The purpose of our study was to extend this work by identifying positive relationships between identity maturity, generativity, and environmentalism using quantitative methodologies. To explore these relationships, we designed quasi-experimental and correlational studies. We recruited 54 environmental activists and 56 comparison individuals, half of whom were youth (mean age=22 years) and the other half midlife adults (mean age=43 years). Sixty-three percent of our sample was female. Participants completed several environmental, generativity, and identity questionnaires. We found that activists and comparison individuals differed on the identity maturity, generativity, and environmental measures overall. Further, greater identity maturity and generativity were associated with higher environmental engagement. And generativity was found to mediate the relation between identity maturity

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1115
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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