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Psycho-Physiological Stress Recovery in Outdoor Nature-Based Interventions: A Systematic Review of the Past Eight Years of Research

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1711; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101711
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Therapies and Human Health)
Background: In modern, urban daily life, natural environments are increasingly recognized as an important resource for stress recovery and general well-being. Aim: the present review aims to provide an overview and synthesis of the past eight years’ research into the psycho-physiological effects of outdoor nature-based interventions, related to stress recovery. Method: a structured search was performed in seven databases, returning 5618 articles. Removal of duplicates and initial screening gave a total of 95 studies. After full text reading, 36 studies were included in the assessment. Results: most of the psychological outcomes were related to different emotional measures. The synthesis of the results points towards outdoor, nature-based exposure having a positive effect on different emotional parameters, related to stress relief. The studies into physiological measures showed more equivocal results. Conclusion: the research, conducted over the past eight years, into outdoor, nature-based exposure has now attained a sound evidence base for psychological and especially emotional effects, but the evidence base for physiological effects within this timeframe shows a great degree of heterogeneity. Limitations: interpretation of the results is limited by the review only covering the past eight years’ research on the subject. View Full-Text
Keywords: health-promoting environments; natural environments; mood; self-estimated stress; heart rate variability; cortisol; narrative synthesis; EPHPP quality assessment health-promoting environments; natural environments; mood; self-estimated stress; heart rate variability; cortisol; narrative synthesis; EPHPP quality assessment
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Corazon, S.S.; Sidenius, U.; Poulsen, D.V.; Gramkow, M.C.; Stigsdotter, U.K. Psycho-Physiological Stress Recovery in Outdoor Nature-Based Interventions: A Systematic Review of the Past Eight Years of Research. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1711.

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