Empathy mediates the relationship between nature connectedness and both callous and uncaring traits
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractAcross the world and time, humans share an innate affinity with nature. In addition to its benefits for mental well-being, the psychological construct of nature connectedness has been associated with several psychopathy-relevant traits including agreeableness, perspective-taking, and empathic concern. This study is the first of its kind to investigate whether nature connectedness is associated with indices of psychopathy, specifically, and whether these associations are further mediated by individual variation in cognitive and affective empathy—traits long considered to be deficient in psychopathy. One hundred and ninety-five participants completed an online survey whereby they were asked to self-report nature connectedness, empathy, and callous, uncaring, and unemotional traits—proxy measures for the affective component of psychopathy in community samples. Nature connectedness was positively associated with cognitive and affective empathy and inversely associated with callous and uncaring, but not unemotional, facets of personality. Furthermore, whereas cognitive empathy mediated the relationship between nature connectedness and both callous and uncaring traits, affective empathy only mediated the relationship between nature connectedness and callous traits. These findings provide evidence that broadens our understanding of the potential benefits of nature connectedness in general, and how subsequently increasing one's nature connectedness and associated ability to take the perspective of another might impact psychopathy, more specifically. As such, this study establishes the groundwork for future investigation and intervention in forensic populations.
CitationFido, D. and Richardson, M. (2019). 'Empathy mediates the relationship between nature connectedness and both callous and uncaring traits'. Ecopsychology, 11(2), pp. 130-137. DOI: 10.1089/eco.2018.0071
PublisherMary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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