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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 340; doi:10.3390/ijerph15020340

Relationships between Characteristics of Urban Green Land Cover and Mental Health in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, Box 8004, Raleigh, NC 27695-8004, USA
Natural Resource Ecology Lab, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, 1499 Campus Delivery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1499, USA
US Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University, Box 7106, Raleigh, NC 27695-7106, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Urbanization increases risk for depression and other mental disorders. A growing body of research indicates the natural environment confers numerous psychological benefits including alleviation of mental distress. This study examined land cover types and landscape metrics in relation to mental health for 276 U.S. counties within metropolitan areas having a population of 1 million or more. County Health Rankings and Behavioral Risk and Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) provided a measure of mental health. The 2011 National Land Cover Database (NLCD) provided data on green land cover types, from which seven landscape metrics were generated to characterize landscape patterns. Spearman’s rho correlation and stepwise logistic regression models, respectively, were employed to examine bivariate and multivariate relationships. Models were adjusted for county population and housing density, region, race, and income to account for potential confounding. Overall, individual measures of landscape patterns showed stronger associations with mental health than percent total cover alone. Greater edge contrast was associated with 3.81% lower odds of Frequent Mental Distress (FMD) (Adjusted Odd’s Ratio (AOR) = 0.9619, 95% CI = 0.9371, 0.9860). Shrubland cohesion was associated with greater odds of FMD (AOR = 1.0751, 95% CI = 1.0196, 1.1379). In addition, distance between shrubland cover was associated with greater odds of FMD (AOR = 1.0027, 95% CI = 1.0016, 1.0041). Although effect sizes were small, findings suggest different types of landscape characteristics may have different roles in improving mental health. View Full-Text
Keywords: green land cover; urban forests; urbanization; landscape green land cover; urban forests; urbanization; landscape

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tsai, W.-L.; McHale, M.R.; Jennings, V.; Marquet, O.; Hipp, J.A.; Leung, Y.-F.; Floyd, M.F. Relationships between Characteristics of Urban Green Land Cover and Mental Health in U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 340.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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