Views of nature and self-discipline: Evidence from inner city children

Andrea Faber Taylor, Frances E. Kuo, William C. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children growing up in the inner city are at risk of academic underachievement, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and other important negative outcomes. Avoiding these outcomes requires self-discipline. Self-discipline, in turn, may draw on directed attention, a limited resource that can be renewed through contact with nature. This study examined the relationship between near-home nature and three forms of self-discipline in 169 inner city girls and boys randomly assigned to 12 architecturally identical high-rise buildings with varying levels of nearby nature. Parent ratings of the naturalness of the view from home were used to predict children's performance on tests of concentration, impulse inhibition, and delay of gratification. Regressions indicated that, on average, the more natural a girl's view from home, the better her performance at each of these forms of self-discipline. For girls, view accounted for 20% of the variance in scores on the combined self-discipline index. For boys, who typically spend less time playing in and around their homes, view from home showed no relationship to performance on any measure. These findings suggest that, for girls, green space immediately outside the home can help them lead more effective, self-disciplined lives. For boys, perhaps more distant green spaces are equally important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-63
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume22
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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