Generativity, Community Engagement, and Fostering the Development of Environmental Justice
In collaboration with Drs. Fanli Jia at Seton Hall University, Michael Pratt (Professor Emeritus, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Kyle Matsuba (Kwantlen Polytechnic University) our research shows that an early motive, generativity (age 23) predicts later engagement in environmental actions, positive attitudes toward the environment, a more committed identity to the natural world (assessed through questionnaires) and a more sophisticated and meaningful life story about one's connection to nature and involvement in environmental justice issues and initiatives at age 32 (longitudinal). Our qualitative analyses on narratives collected from participants at age 32 (e.g., env. scenes, env. turning point stories, and stories of moral courage and cowardice) show that early generativity is tied to later environmentalism through three themes: wanting to feel more empowered to help the environment, the role of having children as a focus for crystallizing environmentalism and passing on specific family traditions from earlier generations to children and grandchildren.
We are continuing to explore associations between generativity, community, and environmental engagement through the intersection of quantitative (cross-lagged multi-level models) and qualitative (narratives/key scenes from participants' life stories), and well-being/adjustment during the transition from emerging adulthood to midlife. Our preliminary data analyses show that community involvement in emerging adulthood predicts less loneliness, and depression later in life/midlife, as well as more themes of generative strivings, and inter and intrapersonal growth and meaning in participants' key community scenes (from part of a life story interview)
We are also guest editors for a special issue on global environmentalism in Sustainability.