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Unraveling the relationship between well-being, sustainable consumption and nature relatedness: a study of university students

R. Redondo, C. Valor, I. Carrero

Applied Research in Quality of Life Vol. 17, nº. 2, pp. 913 - 930


Many empirical studies have found an association between sustainable consumption and well-being. However, the direction of causality between these constructs remains unclear. Well-being could be an antecedent of sustainable consumption or, sustainable consumption a driver of well-being; also, there could be a reciprocal relationship between these two constructs. Alternatively, both well-being and sustainable consumption could be outcomes of another construct that could be masking a relationship between well-being and sustainable consumption. This study aims to advance the well-being and sustainable consumption research by testing these three relationships in a longitudinal study with young consumers (n = 369). The findings show that when controlling for the constructs at Time 1, the relationship between the focal constructs is no longer significant. Results lead to support the hypothesis that sustainable consumption and well-being are explained by a particular trait of the individual, nature relatedness, so that individuals with greater nature relatedness are more likely to adopt a sustainable lifestyle and have greater well-being. Nature relatedness thus acts as a predictor of both focal constructs. This result implies that by nurturing nature relatedness, societies will achieve the double dividend of well-being and sustainability.

Spanish layman's summary:

La relación entre consumo sostenible y felicidad no está clara en la literatura. El estudio testa la relación entre los dos y exploramos si la relación sea espuria, de manera que otra variable (Relación con la naturaleza) explica las dos. El estudio confirma que la relación encontrada entre consumo sostenible y felicidad es espuria. Son las personas con mayor disposición de relación con la naturaleza los que es más probable que compren sostenible y que sean más felices.  


English layman's summary:

The relationship between happiness and sustainable consumption is unclear in the literature. We examine the relationship between these constructs and introduce a third possibility: that the relationship is spurious so that a third variable (Nature Relatedness) explains both outcomes. We find confirmation that individuals higher in this trait are more likely to buy sustainably and be happier than individuals.  

Keywords: Well-being . Happiness . Sustainable consumption . Nature relatedness . Longitudinal study

JCR Impact Factor and WoS quartile: 3,400 - Q1 (2022)

DOI reference: DOI icon https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-021-09931-9

Published on paper: April 2022.

Published on-line: April 2021.

R. Redondo, C. Valor, I. Carrero, Unraveling the relationship between well-being, sustainable consumption and nature relatedness: a study of university students. Applied Research in Quality of Life. Vol. 17, nº. 2, pp. 913 - 930, April 2022. [Online: April 2021]

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