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Nature Relatedness in the Millennial Generation

A summation of Maria Leckey's senior research project at Massanutten Regional Governor's School with Clinical Mental Health JMU graduate student/counselor Anne Metz (mentor).

on 1 June 2015

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Transcript of Nature Relatedness in the Millennial Generation

Nature Relatedness in the Millennial Generation: Connections with Clinical Mental Health, Holistic Wellness, Psychology, and Sociology
My Mentor
- Anne Metz

- Recent graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at JMU

- Works in the Counseling Office at JMU

- Super cool
Last Year
- Research focused primarily on Nature Relatedness and its affect on the Millennial Generation

Nature Relatedness
: The measure of an individual's personal connection with nature (Metz, 2014)

- A major factor in this year's research
This Year
- Anne Metz, her adviser Deb Sturm, and her colleagues pitched a textbook that explores
nature, psychology, and counseling
to Oxford Press.

- Rejected.

- Revised to include info on other helping professions;
social work
, in particular.

- Conducted Outside research on authors in the field of social work to help support the new revision
The Website
- Continuation of my Junior Research project

- Research studied the link in Nature-Relatedness and the Millennial generation; focus in Clinical Mental Health and Sociology

- Created a Nature/Research-centered website

- Expanded to include other fields such as Psychology and Social Work Services
Literature Review
"The Incorporation of Empathy and Nature in Holistic Wellness and Psychology"

- Research mentor suggested articles

- Synthesized approaches to holistic wellness; missing factor of nature in holistic wellness

- Relationship of counseling to empathy; research mentor's literature/research
- Article by Ryan Reese and Jane Myers: "The
missing factor
in holistic wellness models" (Reese & Meyers, 2012)

- Very beneficial; currently underrated

- Social workers are now looking towards nature (EcoWellness) when helping to heal groups and individuals

- Ecopsychology and its applications (Ecotherapy)
- A study on the millennial generation (1982-2000)

- Millennials have:
More narcissistic traits
: 30% increase (Twenge)
less empathy
: 48% decrease (Konrath)
less concern for the environment
(Monitoring the future: American Freshman Survey)

- Millennials are relating differently to themselves, others, and their environment.
The Impact of Nature Relatedness on Empathy and Narcissism in the Millennial Generation
The Study
Empathy in Counseling
- Article written in 1975 by Carl R. Rogers;
for current principals in therapy

- Articulates a then-lack of empathic relationships between client and psychologist

- Critical in turning the tides towards more open and empathic client-psychologist relationships in the field of psychology
- Subjects:
140 undergraduate JMU students
(quantitative study)

- Process: Correlated scores on
different assessments:
- Narcissistic Personality Inventory
- Interpersonal Reactivity
- Nature Relatedness Scale

- A person's connection to nature is related to their levels of narcissism and empathy.

- Hypothesis: Narcissism and Empathy will be inversely related; Empathy and Nature Relatedness will be directly related.
Implications and Conclusions
- Alpha level at .01: Very reliable

- Statistically significant relationship between empathy and nature relatedness
(r = .308)

- People that are higher in nature relatedness appear to be lower in narcissistic qualities

- Not as strong a relationship between nature relatedness and empathy

- Supports previous studies on peoples' connections to nature (Nisbet, Zulenski, & Murphy);
overall conclusive results
Why is there less nature-relatedness present?
Possible causes:
- Indoor entertainment: Netflix,
the internet, television, Youtube,

Social Media
: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

- Depleting natural resources/recreational areas
- Encouraging a sense of connection with nature could address the growing narcissistic qualities in Millennials

- Encouraging a sense of
could lead to a stronger concern for the environment
Research question/purpose: There is a lack of organization of emerging research on the topic of nature relatedness and its implications in the fields of clinical mental health, psychology, counseling, and sociology, making it hard for the general public to be aware of current studies.
Design and Focus
- Lots of freedom in design; modeled after C&NN

- Last year: focus was nature psychology/research

- This year: much broader! Encompassed nature relatedness; relationship with sociology, psychology, clinical mental health

- Secondary focus: promoting areas in/around the Shenandoah Valley for recreational use
What the Website Aims to Encompass
- Promotional + Blog + Research compilation

- Synthesizes hiking, photography, research/articles, blogging, videos, and more on the subject of nature and its psychological, physical, and social benefits.
Mission Statement
- Make the Nature Deficit Disorder known to the public; identify solutions so that anyone anywhere can be inspired to explore nature in his or her region and understand its importance to the global community.

- Providing information on emerging research in the areas of nature psychology, counseling, clinical mental health, and sociology, as well as promoting areas in and around the Shenandoah Valley for recreational use.
Where We Are Now
Nature Deficit Disorder
- "Nature Deficit Disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book "Last Child in the Woods" that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems" (education.com)

- Richard Louv is helping to shape a movement that promotes
outdoor exploration
for children and their families.
Nature Exploration and Conservation
Thank you!
- Anne Metz
- Cheri Greenfield
- Dr. Crotteau
Holistic Wellness Models
- The Indivisible Self: A new evidence-based model of wellness

- "Thus, we recognize that the Indivisible Self is both affected by and has an effect on the surrounding world… indivisibility of human existence is supported by our research findings, especially the identification of a single higher-order wellness factor" (Reese & Myers, 2004)

- Studied the previous model, "The Wheel of Wellness" (Witmer, Sweeney, & Myers, 1988); updated it to include holism as its foundation

- Both holistic wellness models are rooted in Individual Psychology (Witmer, Sweeney, & Myers, 1988)
(Myers & Sweeney, 2004)
(Witmer, Sweeney, & Myers, 1988)
Environmentalism in Social Work
- Thanks anyway, Oxford.

- Textbook that synthesizes nature, psychology, counseling, and social work is now in its second round of revision with the
American Counseling Association
; publication is looking good
- University of South Carolina and Edith Cowan University

- National Association of Social Workers and Council of Social Work Education: Making sustainability a priority

- "Social workers make great environmentalists" (USC)

- Previous focus: Person-in-environment; Current focus on Environment-in-person
- Doesn't include many individuals who don't attend college

- Homogenous sample
Fox, W. (1990). Transpersonal Ecology: "Psychologizing" Ecophilosophy. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 22(1).

Konrath, S., O'brien, E., & Hsing, C. (2010). Changes in Dispositional Empathy in American College Students Over Time: A Meta-Analysis.
Personality and Social Psychology Review
, 2(15), 180-198. Retrieved May 30, 2015.

Metz, A. (2014). Back to Nature: The impact of nature relatedness on empathy and narcissism in the millennial generation.
Graduate Faculty
, 1-50.

Myers, J., and Sweeney, T. (2004). The indivisible self: an evidence-based model of wellness.
Journal of Individual Psychology
, 60(3), 234-245.

Reese, R, and Myers, J. (2011). EcoWellness: The missing factor in holistic wellness models.
Journal of Counseling & Development
, 90(October), 1-8.

Rogers, C. (1975). Empathic: an unappreciated way of being.
The Counseling Psychologist
, 5(2-10), 1-16.

Twenge, J., & Foster, J. (2010). Birth cohort increases in narcissistic personality traits among american college students, 1982-2009.
Social Psychological and Personality Science
, 1(1), 99-106. Retrieved May 30, 2015.

“We need the tonic of wildness... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable... We can never have enough of nature.”
- Thorea, from Walden
Environmentalism in Social Work (cont.)
- Peter Jones (James Cook University): Expanding the
Ecological Consciousness
of Social Work Students: Education for Sustainable Practice

- "Environmentalism of Social Work: Direction and inspiration for
ecological social work
" from Social Work Today

- Transpersonal Ecology: "Psychologizing"
by Warwick Fox (1990)

- Keep on with the website

- See the publication of the textbook through

- Continue helping Anne/The Counseling Center at JMU with further research
Full transcript