Four: Connecting with community: the nature of belonging among rural elders

This chapter reviews the literature on place attachment and then empirically tests conceptual models of place attachment (based on the literature) to identify the predictors of, and the pathways to, place attachment. The results of the mediation analysis demonstrate that there are distinct pathways to three kinds of connectivity between older people and the places in which they live: social attachment to place, aesthetic attachment to place and amenity/ environment-oriented physical attachment. The results demonstrate that there are discrete types of place attachment which are differentially influenced by social or environmental factors at each level of the ecological model and by the passage of time. We reflect on the applicability of our findings to those from Canadian rural communities that formed a parallel project to the UK research.

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