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Article

Environmental Identity in Russia: Validation and Relationship to Concern for People and Plants

Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics. 2019. Vol. 16. No. 1. P. 85-107.
Clayton S., Ирхин Б. Д., Nartova-Bochaver S. K.

Environmental identity is a self-concept that incorporates and is defined by a relationship with nature; it is useful for predicting relevant social attitudes and behavior. In the current paper, the concept is investigated in three empirical studies using the Environmental Identity (EID) scale. Study 1 (n = 222) was devoted to validating the Russian version of the EID scale. Along with the EID scale, we measured environmental attitudes with the New Environmental Paradigm and Global Awareness of Consequences scales. Results showed that, in line with the original version, the Russian version has a one-factor structure and good internal consistency (α = .88), and is positively connected with environmental concern, global awareness of consequences, egoistic, altruistic and biospheric values. Study 2 (n = 94) investigated the connection between EID and attitudes toward the plant world using the People and Plants questionnaire. EID predicted all variables describing people’s attitudes towards plants: Joy, Aesthetics, Experience of interaction with plants, Closeness to nature, and Ecology. Finally, Study 3 (n = 200) examined the connection between EID and empathy with nature and people. Dispositional Empathy with Nature and Interpersonal Reactivity Index scales were used. It was revealed that EID was positively connected and contributed to both types of empathy, more strongly impacting empathy with nature. It is concluded that the Russian version of the EID scale is a valid and reliable instrument. In addition, the EID concept seems to relate to a more general ability to connect with things external to oneself. As such, it has the potential to be helpful in forming psychotherapeutic programs and in designing restorative environments.