A Scoping Review Mapping Research on Green Space and Associated Mental Health Benefits

Charlotte Wendelboe-Nelson, Sarah Kelly, Marion Kennedy, John W. Cherrie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Abstract

Background: There is a growing interest in research investigating the association between green space (GS) and mental health and wellbeing (HWB), in order to understand the underlying mechanisms. Accordingly, there is a need to map the literature and create an overview of the research.

Methods: A scoping review approach was used to map literature on GS, including context and co-exposures (the GS exposome), and their associations with mental HWB. The review considers mental HWB definitions and measurements and how GS is characterized. Furthermore, the review aims to identify knowledge gaps and make recommendations for future research.

Results: We identified a great diversity in study designs, definitions, outcome measures, consideration of the totality of the GS exposome, and reporting of results. Around 70% of the 263 reviewed studies reported a positive association between some aspect of GS and HWB. However, there is a limited amount of research using randomized controlled crossover trails (RCTs) and mixed methods and an abundance of qualitative subjective research.

Conclusions: The discords between study designs, definitions, and the reporting of results makes it difficult to aggregate the evidence and identify any potential causal mechanisms. We propose key points to consider when defining and quantifying GS and make recommendations for reporting on research investigating GS and mental HWB. This review highlights a need for large well-designed RCTs that reliably measure the GS exposome in relation to mental HWB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2081
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Exposome
  • Green space
  • Mental health and wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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