Motivation, efficacy and knowledge predict children's development of concern for the natural world

Chawla, L. . (2009). Growing up green: Becoming an agent of care for the natural world. Journal of Developmental Processes, 4, 6-23.

In this review, Chawla examines developmental pathways related to children's active care for the natural world. Specifically, Chawla focuses on three key factors that have been associated with active care for the environment: motivation to care for nature, a sense of efficacy, and knowledge of action skills and strategies. In examining these factors, she draws on three developmental models or frameworks and discusses research in light of these models. A few of the findings Chawla highlights in her review are: 1) the important role of socializers (e.g., influential family members, teachers, or other adult mentors) within the context of the surrounding culture; 2) that children come to value environmental actions through a variety of mechanisms (interest/enjoyment value, attainment value, utility value, and relative cost); 3) empathy and sympathy are a foundation for the development of care for the natural world; and 4) the importance of providing opportunities for children to develop a sense of efficacy to achieve environmental goals, such as through mastery experiences. In concluding her review, Chawla discusses future research needs.

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