The measurement of place attachment: personal, community, and environmental connections
Raymond, CM and Brown, G and Weber, D, The measurement of place attachment: personal, community, and environmental connections, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30, (4) pp. 422-434. ISSN 0272-4944 (2010) [Refereed Article]
Place attachment has been researched extensively in the social and behavioural sciences over the past two decades. However, it is challenging for researchers to assimilate the mixed messages presented in the place attachment literature and to understand the multiple place attachment terms. In this study, a four-dimensional model of rural landholder attachments to their natural resource management region was conceptually and empirically developed with the aim of developing an integrated approach to the measurement of place attachment that clearly distinguishes between different elements of place scholarship. A 29-item place attachment scale with the dimensions of place identity, place dependence, nature bonding, and social bonding was tested on a random sample of rural landholders in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia (N = 320). The majority of respondents were male (69.3%) and the average age was 59 years. The scale was reduced to 20-items and then administered simultaneously and in the same response format to rural landholders in two other areas of South Australia: the Northern and Yorke region (N = 664) and South Australian Murray-Darling Basin region (N = 659). In both studies, the majority of respondents were male (85%) and the average age was 55 years. Exploratory factor and reliability analyses of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and Northern and Yorke datasets produced a five-dimensional model of place attachment with high reliabilities. Social bonding divided into the constructs of family bonding and friend bonding. The refined five-dimensional model was then examined for convergent validity, with moderate but significant correlations found between individual attachment constructs and dependent variables expected to be related to the construct, such as place identity and length of residence, and nature bonding and time currently spent in nature. We used confirmatory factor analysis to test the goodness-of-fit of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) dataset to the proposed five-dimensional model and then compared its fit to the traditional two-dimensional model of place identity and place dependence. The five-dimensional model provided moderate fit for the SAMDB data. We conclude with a discussion of the validity and reliability of the five-dimensional model and its future role in place attachment research.
community attachment, construct validity, place attachment, place identity, scale development, sense of place