Theorizing Family-Based Nature Activities and Family Functioning: The Integration of Attention Restoration Theory With a Family Routines and Rituals Perspective

Dina Izenstark, Aaron T. Ebata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Time spent in nature has been recognized as beneficial for individuals, but the benefits of nature engagement for families remain significantly underresearched and lack theoretical underpinnings. We draw from the family studies, family leisure, and environmental psychology literature to suggest a new theoretical approach—integrating attention restoration theory and a routines and rituals perspective to study family-based nature activities. Attention restoration theory shows how certain types of behavioral settings have different effects on restored attention, which may influence interactions between family members, and a family routines and rituals perspective predicts greater developmental benefits from certain types of ritualized activities over onetime experiences. We argue that participation in family-based nature activities can serve as a pathway for positive family functioning more so than other types of leisure contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-153
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Theory and Review
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Attention restoration theory
  • family functioning
  • family-based nature activities
  • routines and rituals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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