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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061205

Reloading Pupils’ Batteries: Impact of Green Spaces on Cognition and Wellbeing

1
Department of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2
Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning, Department of Landscape, Spatial and Infrastructure Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Peter-Jordan-Straße 82/I, 1190 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress, Coping, and Resilience in Adolescents)
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Abstract

Cognitive functioning and academic performance of pupils depend on regular breaks from classroom work. However, it is unclear which settings during such breaks provide the best environment to restore cognitive performance and promote wellbeing of adolescent pupils. Therefore, we investigated the effects of staying in different urban green spaces during breaks. Sixty-four pupils (16–18 years old) participated in a cross-over experiment. They were placed into one of three settings (small park, larger park, forest) for one hour during a lunch break. Wellbeing was assessed four times (Nitsch scale), and a cognitive test (d2-R Test of Attention) was applied in the classrooms before and after the break. Wellbeing was almost always highest after the stay in the green spaces. However, a sustained effect was only found for the forest. Concentration performance values of the d2-R test were significantly higher after the pupils’ stay in green spaces for all sites. The highest increase of performance was found for the larger park type. In conclusion, this pilot study showed that study breaks in green spaces improved wellbeing and cognitive performance of adolescents. It also found that larger green spaces, either parks or forests, have stronger positive impacts on wellbeing and cognitive performance than small parks. View Full-Text
Keywords: green spaces; park; forest; pupils; adolescents; school; break; cognition; d2 test; wellbeing green spaces; park; forest; pupils; adolescents; school; break; cognition; d2 test; wellbeing
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Wallner, P.; Kundi, M.; Arnberger, A.; Eder, R.; Allex, B.; Weitensfelder, L.; Hutter, H.-P. Reloading Pupils’ Batteries: Impact of Green Spaces on Cognition and Wellbeing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1205.

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