Date of Award

Summer 7-28-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology




Fanli Jia, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan Nolan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan Teague, Ph.D.


religious psychology, environmental psychology, psychosocial identity


For many years, research into religion and environmentalism focused on affiliation with a religious institution as it correlated with environmental attitudes (Boyd, 1999; Hand & Van Liere, 1984). This perspective did not account for differences in religious attitudes among members of the same religion and also missed the ways religious identity can shape other views. Newer research into religious identity as a factor in environmentalism has highlighted religion as a personal and social construct which can positively influence environmental beliefs (Hedlund de- Witt et al., 2013; Garfield et al., 2014). This study used a psychosocial approach and surveyed 286 undergraduate university students on the influence of two measures of psychosocial religious identity, religious orientation and religious identity maturity, on stated environmental beliefs and behaviors. Other values, ecocentrism and anthropocentrism, were also analyzed. The results indicate religious identity can play a positive role in pro-environmental behavior and showed a significant positive relationship between religious orientation and environmental behaviors. Additionally, ecocentric and anthropocentric views independently influenced environmental beliefs and behaviors. Further, ecocentrism and religious orientation were both significant in a model predicting pro-environmental behaviors. Future research into how religious self-identity influences environment actions should consider the positive effects that religion can have on environmental behaviors. Further, future research should explore other ways a psychosocial approach to religion could illuminate environmental attitudes and actions.