Doses of neighborhood nature: the benefits for mental health of living with nature
Oxford University Press (OUP)
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Experiences of nature provide many mental health benefits, particularly for people living in urban areas. The natural characteristics of city residents’ neighborhoods are likely to be critical determinants of the daily nature dose that they receive, however which characteristics are important remains unclear. One possibility is that the greatest benefits are provided by characteristics that are most visible during the day and so most likely to be experienced by people. We demonstrate that of five neighborhood nature characteristics tested, vegetation cover and afternoon bird abundances were positively associated with a lower prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress. Further, dose-response modelling shows a threshold response where the population prevalence of mental health issues is significantly lower beyond minimum limits of neighborhood vegetation cover (depression >20% cover, anxiety >30% cover, stress >20% cover). Our findings demonstrate quantifiable associations of mental health with the characteristics of nearby nature that people actually experience.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from OUP via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 67 (2), pp. 147-155