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A systematic map of research exploring the effect of greenspace on mental health

A systematic map of research exploring the effect of greenspace on mental health
A systematic map of research exploring the effect of greenspace on mental health
The past 35 years has seen an accumulation of empirical evidence suggesting a positive association between greenspace and mental health. Existing reviews of evidence are narrow in scope, and do not adequately represent the broad range of disciplines working in this field. This study is the first systematic map of studies investigating greenspace effects on mental health. A total of 6059 papers were screened for their relevance, 276 of which met inclusion criteria for the systematic map.

The map revealed several methodological limitations hindering the practical applications of research findings to public health. Critically, the majority of studies used cross-sectional mental health data which makes causal inference about greenspace effects challenging. There are also few studies on the micro-features that make up greenspaces (i.e., their “quality”), with most focussing only on “quantity” effects on mental health. Moreover, few studies adopted a multi-scale approach, meaning there is little evidence about at which spatial scale(s) the relationship exists. A geographic gap in study location was also identified, with the majority of studies clustered in European countries and the USA.

Future research should account for both human and ecological perspectives of “quality” using objective and repeatable measures, and consider the potential of scale-dependent greenspace effects to ensure that management of greenspace is compatible with wider scale biodiversity targets. To establish the greenspace and metal health relationship across a life course, studies should make better use of longitudinal data, as this enables stronger inferences to be made than more commonly used cross-sectional data.
blue space, greenspace, mental health, review, systematic map
0169-2046
Collins, Rebecca
5771277b-9f1b-4be5-b7db-a8e3ae632ac7
Spake, Rebecca
1cda8ad0-2ab2-45d9-a844-ec3d8be2786a
Brown, Kerry A.
a978f85f-9d55-4e5e-98f4-b08bd9352f8d
Ogutu, Booker
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Smith, Dianna
e859097c-f9f5-4fd0-8b07-59218648e726
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Collins, Rebecca
5771277b-9f1b-4be5-b7db-a8e3ae632ac7
Spake, Rebecca
1cda8ad0-2ab2-45d9-a844-ec3d8be2786a
Brown, Kerry A.
a978f85f-9d55-4e5e-98f4-b08bd9352f8d
Ogutu, Booker
4e36f1d2-f417-4274-8f9c-4470d4808746
Smith, Dianna
e859097c-f9f5-4fd0-8b07-59218648e726
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827

Collins, Rebecca, Spake, Rebecca, Brown, Kerry A., Ogutu, Booker, Smith, Dianna and Eigenbrod, Felix (2020) A systematic map of research exploring the effect of greenspace on mental health. Landscape and Urban Planning, 201, [103823]. (doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103823).

Record type: Review

Abstract

The past 35 years has seen an accumulation of empirical evidence suggesting a positive association between greenspace and mental health. Existing reviews of evidence are narrow in scope, and do not adequately represent the broad range of disciplines working in this field. This study is the first systematic map of studies investigating greenspace effects on mental health. A total of 6059 papers were screened for their relevance, 276 of which met inclusion criteria for the systematic map.

The map revealed several methodological limitations hindering the practical applications of research findings to public health. Critically, the majority of studies used cross-sectional mental health data which makes causal inference about greenspace effects challenging. There are also few studies on the micro-features that make up greenspaces (i.e., their “quality”), with most focussing only on “quantity” effects on mental health. Moreover, few studies adopted a multi-scale approach, meaning there is little evidence about at which spatial scale(s) the relationship exists. A geographic gap in study location was also identified, with the majority of studies clustered in European countries and the USA.

Future research should account for both human and ecological perspectives of “quality” using objective and repeatable measures, and consider the potential of scale-dependent greenspace effects to ensure that management of greenspace is compatible with wider scale biodiversity targets. To establish the greenspace and metal health relationship across a life course, studies should make better use of longitudinal data, as this enables stronger inferences to be made than more commonly used cross-sectional data.

Text
Collins et al Systematic map of the effect of greenspace on mental health - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 April 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 May 2020
Keywords: blue space, greenspace, mental health, review, systematic map

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 440876
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/440876
ISSN: 0169-2046
PURE UUID: 79e37df4-e23d-466f-aa61-2368da5bb6c2
ORCID for Booker Ogutu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1804-6205
ORCID for Dianna Smith: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0650-6606
ORCID for Felix Eigenbrod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8982-824X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 May 2020 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:04

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Contributors

Author: Rebecca Collins
Author: Rebecca Spake
Author: Kerry A. Brown
Author: Booker Ogutu ORCID iD
Author: Dianna Smith ORCID iD
Author: Felix Eigenbrod ORCID iD

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