Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies

Department

Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler

Abstract

The Human-Nature Relationship (HNR) is a complex, dynamic co-evolutionary relationship between humans and nature that governs human health and ecological sustainability. Demographic factors (e.g., age, gender) and personal perception (e.g., beliefs, thoughts, values) shape this relationship and subsequent human and ecological health; therefore, understanding the HNR for specific populations is imperative. We conducted a phenomenological inquiry into the lived experience of urban adolescent women (UAW) to describe their HNR, particularly with urban nature, through open-ended interviews with 10 urban female-identified persons aged 13- 18. We use Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and find that UAW express their HNR through three themes: Authenticity of Nature, Connection to Nature, Self, and Others, and Disruption of the HNR. All participants describe nature as genuine rather than human-made. Nature’s authenticity bestows space and time for UAW to re-balance the self and connect with nature. Participants prefer immersion in wild nature to using urban nature, because they perceive the built urban environment, modernization, and social factors to disrupt their relationship with nature. This inquiry supplies foundational information for future research regarding UAW and their HNR. We recommend conducting Participatory Action Research to develop and implement meaningful urban nature programing for UAW to nurture their HNR within the urban environment. This study offers insight for policy makers and educators interested in serving UAW, supporting their HNR, health, and environmental literacy.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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