Connectedness with nature and individual responses to a pandemic

New research explores how individual connectedness with nature may correlate with human responses in times of a pandemic crisis.

​We still have limited knowledge on the psychological aspects of the human-nature relationships that underlie individual responses to pandemic crises. Researchers from the University of Lausanne are now proposing that individual connectedness with nature may offer a useful insight into how humans think, feel and behave during COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was conducted in two waves: one with 486 United States residents at the end of March 2020 and the second one with 533 United States residents at the beginning of May 2020. The study maps how the connection between people and their natural environment relates to their views, behaviours and perceptions of impact in response to the pandemic. For example, while the pandemic can be viewed as a negative result of yet another series of unsustainable human actions, it can also be seen as a momentary positive development, though not a solution, in the fight against climate change. Similarly, people with a strong connection to nature might be more inclined to comply with limited movement measures, considering the pro-environmental benefits of the latter. However, they might also be less likely to comply because of their strong attachment to some nature-related activities.

As the research employs an exploratory methodology, the results provide an account of potential relationships rather than their validation and thus represent an encouraging steppingstone for further research on human behavior in the time of a global pandemic.

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Simona Haasova Université de Lausanne
Departement of Marketing
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