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Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) reduces stress and increases people’s positive affect and wellbeing in comparison to its digital counterpart

Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) reduces stress and increases people’s positive affect and wellbeing in comparison to its digital counterpart

Markwell, Natalie and Gladwin, Thomas Edward (2020) Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) reduces stress and increases people’s positive affect and wellbeing in comparison to its digital counterpart. Ecopsychology, 12 (4). pp. 247-256. ISSN 1942-9347 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1089/eco.2019.0071)

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Abstract

Separation from nature may contribute to stress and reduced wellbeing. Shinrin-yoku may be an effective and cost-effective method to improve mental health by immersion in forests/woodlands. The current study experimentally tested the effect of Shinrin-yoku on stress, affect and wellbeing and sought to gain further insight into the experience of participating in Shinrin-yoku. A mixed methods experimental design was used to conduct the study. 22 participants, stratified by hand, were assigned to one of two conditions: the Shinrin-yoku condition and the control (nature video) condition. Scales were used to measure four aspects of mental health: stress, positive and negative affect, and wellbeing. Participants completed four hour-long sessions and questionnaires were completed at four-time points: baseline, two-week point, post intervention and one-month follow-up. A mixed between-within ANCOVA was used to analyse the questionnaire data. Additionally, participants took part in interviews and gave answers to open-ended questions, which were analysed using thematic analysis. Shinrin-yoku was found to improve positive affect and wellbeing; the effect on positive affect remained significant at the one-month follow-up. A number of themes were identified characterizing the Shinrin-yoku and control groups, e.g., Shinrin-yoku was associated with mental refreshment. Shinrin-yoku could be an effective intervention for mental health in Western societies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shinrin-yoku, nature, stress, wellbeing, positive affect, negative affect
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Mental Health
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2021 15:50
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/29767

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