Journal Article

Ecospirituality : the psychology of moral concern for nature


People across time and cultures have often conceived of nature, and humanity’s connection to it, as essentially spiritual. Yet the psychological literature about this “ecospiritual” orientation has been meager. In eight samples, recruited from the USA, Canada, UK, and Singapore (Total N = 8,795), we investigated the relationship between ecospirituality and moral concern for nature. We developed and validated an 8-item measure of ecospirituality for this purpose. Ecospirituality, over and above environmental attitudes, environmentalist identity, and political orientation, uniquely predicted several aspects of moral concern for nature, such as including nature in one’s moral circle, treating nature as a sacred value, and endorsing a reasoning style that places importance on principles and duties to nature. This reasoning style was reflected in decisions involving nature-economic trade-offs, as well as in an unconditional voting style for the Green Party. We discuss how a spiritual view of nature is an important component of the moral psychology of the human-nature relationship, and what implications it might have for interventions aimed at increasing sustainability.

The fulltext files of this resource are currently embargoed.
Embargo end: 2025-03-28


Billet, Matthew I.
Baimel, Adam
Sahakari, Sakshi S.
Schaller, Mark
Norenzayan, Ara

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-03-28

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live
  • Views (since Sept 2022): 387