Nature relatedness and snake/spider phobia
We sought to test whether nature relatedness and residence size serve as protective factors to the most common animal fears and phobias (i.e., that of snakes and spiders). We used the Nature Relatedness Scale (NR) to measure the individuals’ subjective connection with nature. Participants (N=1071, aged 18-65 years) were also asked to complete the Snake and Spider Questionnaire (SNAQ and SPQ, respectively) and to rate pictures of snakes and spiders according to valence, arousal, and dominance. To explore complex relationships between various explanatory and response variables, we employed a generalized linear model, redundancy analysis, and structural equation modeling. Results show that snake and spider fear is strongly associated with the NR total score. Participants scoring higher on the SNAQ and SPQ also evaluate snake and spider images more negatively, are more aroused by the stimuli but feel less dominant over them. Moreover, subjects with higher snake or spider fear scored lower on the NR scale, especially its two subscales, Experience and Perspective.