How combinations of recreational activities predict connection to nature among youth

Connection to nature (CTN) can help promote environmental engagement requisite for addressing extreme environmental challenges. Current generations, however, may be less connected to nature than previous ones. Spending time in nature can counter this disconnect, particularly among children. In relation to CTN, this study evaluates the relative predictive power of solitary and social time in nature, specific recreation activities (e.g., camping), and diverse backgrounds (e.g., ethnicity) through a classification tree analysis with 9-to-12-year olds in the southeastern USA (n = 1,285). Solitary time in nature was the most important predictor of high CTN, and social time in nature was a secondary component of high CTN. In addition, in the context of this study, hunting and fishing were the most important activities predicting high CTN. Based on these results, we suggest providing solitary outdoor activities reinforced by environmental socialization to promote CTN for all.

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