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Relationships between Personal and Collective Place Identity and Well-Being in Mountain Communities

Journal article
Authors Igor Knez
Ingegärd Eliasson
Published in Frontiers in Psychology
Volume 8
ISSN 1664-1078
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Keywords mountain, cultural ecosystem services, place-identity, well-being
Subject categories Psychology, Other Social Sciences, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Other Humanities


The aim was to investigate the relationships between landscape-related personal and collective identity and well-being of residents living in a Swedish mountain county (N = 850). It was shown that their most valued mountain activities were viewing and experiencing nature and landscape, outdoor recreation, rest and leisure, and socializing with friends/family. Qualitative analyses showed that the most valued aspects of the sites were landscape and outdoor restoration for personal favorite sites, and tourism and alpine for collective favorite sites. According to quantitative analyses the stronger the attachment/closeness/belonging (emotional component of place identity) residents felt to favorite personal and collective sites the more well-being they perceived when visiting these places. Similarly, the more remembrance, thinking and mental travel (cognitive component of place identity) residents directed to these sites the more well-being they perceived in these places. In both types of sites well-being was more strongly predicted by emotional than cognitive component of place-identity. All this indicates the importance of person-place bonds in beneficial experiences of the outdoors, over and above simply being in outdoor environments. Introduction Identification with landscape as a cultural ecosystem service and its relation to human well-being has been recognized by Millenium Ecosystem Assessment [MA] (2005). Identity, heritage values, spiritual services, esthetic appreciation of natural and cultivated landscapes, recreation, and tourism are the categories of cultural ecosystem services that are provided by landscapes (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment [MA], 2005). The link between identity and well-being has, however, not as yet been fully addressed. Above all, because the concept of ecosystem services is primarily based on natural and economic science paradigms (Daily et al., 2009; Schaich et al., 2010; Tengberg et al., 2012) not including cultural ecosystem services per se (Chan et al., 2012; Hernández-Morcillo et al., 2013). Hence, more research is needed especially on the links between biological ecosystem outcomes, cultural landscape issues (Gee and Burkhard, 2010), health and well-being (Sandifer et al., 2015); a concern that is indicated in, for example, the European Landscape Convention [ELC] (2000).

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