If people are attached to plants, do they love other people? Case of the Russian youth
People’s attachment to the plant world makes a great contribution to the maintenance of psychological well-being. At the same time, little is known regarding the contribution of attitudes to plants to people’s morality; the current study is aimed at filling this gap. We assumed that the more positive the attitude to plants is, the higher the level of moral motives is. The survey was conducted on the Russian sample; 257 participants (students from Moscow universities, 199 female, Mage = 21.1, SDage = 2.5), were recruited. The following tools were used: a questionnaire People and Plants (PaP) consisting of five sub-scales (joy, esthetics, practice, closeness to nature, and ecology) and Moral Motives Model scale (MMM scale) including six sub-scales (self-restraint, not harming, social order, self-reliance (industriousness), helping/fairness, and social justice). It was found that all parameters of positive attitudes to plants, except practice, were strongly positively connected with moral motives. Multi-regression analysis allowed developing certain models demonstrating the contribution of attachment to the plant world to people's morality. The proscriptive motives (especially self-restraint) are more sensitive to attitudes to flora as compared to prescriptive motives; prescriptive motive self-reliance was not predicted by the attitude to flora at all. Moreover, the findings seem to be gender-sensitive (predictions are higher in females). The obtained results are discussed referring to the reverence for life ethics by Schweitzer, deep ecology by Næss, Biophilia hypothesis by Wilson, and psychology of moral expansiveness by Crimston et al.