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      Exposure to Neighborhood Green Space and Mental Health: Evidence from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin

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          Abstract

          Green space is now widely viewed as a health-promoting characteristic of residential environments, and has been linked to mental health benefits such as recovery from mental fatigue and reduced stress, particularly through experimental work in environmental psychology. Few population level studies have examined the relationships between green space and mental health. Further, few studies have considered the role of green space in non-urban settings. This study contributes a population-level perspective from the United States to examine the relationship between environmental green space and mental health outcomes in a study area that includes a spectrum of urban to rural environments. Multivariate survey regression analyses examine the association between green space and mental health using the unique, population-based Survey of the Health of Wisconsin database. Analyses were adjusted for length of residence in the neighborhood to reduce the impact of neighborhood selection bias. Higher levels of neighborhood green space were associated with significantly lower levels of symptomology for depression, anxiety and stress, after controlling for a wide range of confounding factors. Results suggest that “greening” could be a potential population mental health improvement strategy in the United States.

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          Most cited references51

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          Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?

          To investigate the strength of the relation between the amount of green space in people's living environment and their perceived general health. This relation is analysed for different age and socioeconomic groups. Furthermore, it is analysed separately for urban and more rural areas, because the strength of the relation was expected to vary with urbanity. The study includes 250 782 people registered with 104 general practices who filled in a self administered form on sociodemographic background and perceived general health. The percentage of green space (urban green space, agricultural space, natural green space) within a one kilometre and three kilometre radius around the postal code coordinates was calculated for each household. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed at three levels-that is, individual level, family level, and practice level-controlled for sociodemographic characteristics. The percentage of green space inside a one kilometre and a three kilometre radius had a significant relation to perceived general health. The relation was generally present at all degrees of urbanity. The overall relation is somewhat stronger for lower socioeconomic groups. Elderly, youth, and secondary educated people in large cities seem to benefit more from presence of green areas in their living environment than other groups in large cities. This research shows that the percentage of green space in people's living environment has a positive association with the perceived general health of residents. Green space seems to be more than just a luxury and consequently the development of green space should be allocated a more central position in spatial planning policy.
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            More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns

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              Natural Versus Urban Scenes: Some Psychophysiological Effects

              R. Ulrich (1981)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                21 March 2014
                March 2014
                : 11
                : 3
                : 3453-3472
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Division of Epidemiology, Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA; E-Mail: drea2340@ 123456gmail.com
                [2 ]Division of Biostatistics, Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA; E-Mail: aszabo@ 123456mcw.edu
                [3 ]PhD Program in Public and Community Health, Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA; E-Mail: sbogar@ 123456mcw.edu
                [4 ]Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, 610 Walnut St., Madison, WI 53726, USA; E-Mails: fjnieto@ 123456wisc.edu (F.J.N.); kmalecki@ 123456wisc.edu (K.M.M.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: kbeyer@ 123456mcw.edu ; Tel.: +1-414-955-7530; Fax: +1-414-955-6529.
                Article
                ijerph-11-03453
                10.3390/ijerph110303453
                3987044
                24662966
                2f22e966-40d2-48db-af43-90c5cd92609d
                © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                History
                : 31 January 2014
                : 05 March 2014
                : 13 March 2014
                Categories
                Article

                Public health
                green space,nature,neighborhood environment,mental health,population-based surveys,united states

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