Visits to Natural Environments Improve State Body Appreciation: Evidence from Malaysia, Romania, and Spain

Viren Swami*, Nor Azzatunnisak Mohd Khatib, Jose Vidal-Mollón, Mona Vintila, David Barron, Cosmin Goian, Olga Mayoral, Evelyn Kheng Lin Toh, Otilia Tudorel, Simran Vazirani, Hanoor Syahirah Zahari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent studies have reported that nature exposure is associated with more positive body image - a multifaceted construct that includes one's body-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors - but these studies are constrained by a focus on limited national contexts and environment types. To rectify this, we examined the impact of nature exposure on state body image in diverse national contexts and across different environment types. In Study 1, 140 Romanian and 161 Spanish adults who visited botanic gardens were asked to complete a measure of state body appreciation on entry and again upon exit, as well as report their visit duration. Analyses indicated that there was a significant increase in body appreciation scores in both subsamples (ds = 0.52, 0.68), but exit scores were significantly higher in the Spanish compared to the Romanian group (d = 0.26). Visit duration was significantly and weakly associated with greater improvements in state body image change only in the Spanish subsample. In Study 2, the same procedures were repeated with Malaysian adults who visited a green space (n = 351) or blue space (n = 351). Analyses showed a significant increase in body appreciation scores in both subsamples (ds = 0.66, 0.99), with exit scores being significantly higher in the blue- compared to the green-space group (d = 0.40). Visit duration was significantly, albeit weakly, associated with greater improvements in state body appreciation in both subsamples. These results support the prioritization of access to natural environments to promote healthier body image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalEcopsychology
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Blue space
  • Botanic gardens
  • Green space
  • Nature exposure
  • Positive body image

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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