Journal of Migration and Health
School of Arts and Humanities / School of Science / Centre for People, Place and Planet
Research School of Psychology, Australian National University / Centre for People, Place and Planet, Edith Cowan University
Environmental change is often accompanied by non-tangible, non-economic losses, including loss of valued attributes, connection to place, and social cohesion through migration in the face of such changes. Over two studies we sought to test whether imagining the loss of valued environmental characteristics influences intentions to migrate elsewhere and/or engage in place-protective actions, and whether this can be accounted for by changes to place attachment, using the city of Perth, Western Australia as a case study. In Study 1 (N = 148) we found imagined environmental loss significantly increased intentions to move away, and significantly decreased place attachment. There was no influence of imagining loss on place-protective action intentions. We replicated these findings in a representative community sample (Study 2: N = 333). In addition, we found that changes to moving intentions and place attachment related to the type of valued characteristic imagined loss, with characteristics that went beyond the explicitly environmental to encompass social relationships and lifestyle dimensions related to a tendency to stay, and lower reductions to place attachment. The implications of these findings include the inseparability of responses to environmental changes and perceptions of socio-cultural loss.
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