Martina Bubalo

Vening Meineszgebouw A
Princetonlaan 8a
3584 CB Utrecht

Martina Bubalo

PhD Candidate
Urban Geography
ECO-MIND – Enhancing Pro-Environmental Behaviours and Mental Health through Nature Contact for Urban Youth: A multi-country study using geographic ecological momentary assessment and mental models 01.08.2023 to 31.07.2027
General project description

Under the rising pressure of planetary crises, including climate change, urban youth are facing increasing mental health problems. Mental health problems are amplified among urban youth through a detachment from natural environments (e.g., green spaces), especially in cities where opportunities for nature interaction are limited. The literature suggests that nature exposure may stimulate pro-environmental behaviours (PEB) and improve mental health. However, previous studies are limited in scope, focusing on (i) adults and (ii) the global north while (iii) assessing nature exposure solely at home cross-sectionally. No study has investigated whether youths’ causal beliefs (i.e., mental models) about nature connectedness affect the impact of nature exposure on mental health and PEB longitudinally.

This project will be the first to integrate high-resolution, longitudinal data on nature exposure with cognitive and behavioural models in daily life. We will investigate urban youths’ PEB and mental health in relation to nature contact in varying urban settings. We will test if causal pathways between nature exposure, mental health, and PEB are moderated/mediated by individuals’ mental models about nature exposure and nature connectedness.

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