Moving beyond the neighborhood: Daily exposure to nature and adolescents’ mood

Dongying Li, Brian Deal, Xiaolu Zhou, Marcus Slavenas, William C. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A growing body of literature has explored the psychological benefits associated with contact with nature. Many studies have employed experimental designs that compared various levels of nature exposure, or have used exogenous neighborhood-based measures of nature. The exact places where adolescents visit, as well as their street-level experiences with nature, remain unexplored. As a result, we know very little about the extent to which adolescents' actual exposure to nature is related to their moods. In this study, we examined the daily activities and moods of 155 adolescents from central Illinois to understand the association between exposure to varying concentrations of nature and adolescents' mood. Each participant wore a Global Positioning System (GPS) device for four consecutive days and completed an adapted Profile of Mood States questionnaire at the end of each day. We calculated the concentration of nature participants were exposed to by assessing the Google Street View images at the locations they visited throughout each day. Multi-level modeling analysis revealed significant associations between the concentration of nature and daily mood in participating adolescents, even after controlling for intra-individual and inter-individual level confounding variables. This relationship did not vary by demographic or socio-economic background. We discuss the implications for greening urban public space and resurrecting time for adolescents to engage in unstructured activities. The methods used in this study—combining GPS tracking and environmental exposure assessment—can be applied to a variety of research studies regarding human-landscape relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume173
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Adolescents’ mood
  • Concentration of nature
  • Everyday settings
  • GPS tracking
  • Google Street View

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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