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A Scoping Review Mapping Research on Green Space and Associated Mental Health Benefits

1
Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
2
Information Services, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
3
Centre for Human Exposure Science, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Research Avenue North, Edinburgh EH14 4AP, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2081; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122081
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 1 June 2019 / Accepted: 7 June 2019 / Published: 12 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Abstract

Background: There is a growing interest in research investigating the association between green space (GS) and mental health and wellbeing (HWB), in order to understand the underlying mechanisms. Accordingly, there is a need to map the literature and create an overview of the research. Methods: A scoping review approach was used to map literature on GS, including context and co-exposures (the GS exposome), and their associations with mental HWB. The review considers mental HWB definitions and measurements and how GS is characterized. Furthermore, the review aims to identify knowledge gaps and make recommendations for future research. Results: We identified a great diversity in study designs, definitions, outcome measures, consideration of the totality of the GS exposome, and reporting of results. Around 70% of the 263 reviewed studies reported a positive association between some aspect of GS and HWB. However, there is a limited amount of research using randomized controlled crossover trails (RCTs) and mixed methods and an abundance of qualitative subjective research. Conclusions: The discords between study designs, definitions, and the reporting of results makes it difficult to aggregate the evidence and identify any potential causal mechanisms. We propose key points to consider when defining and quantifying GS and make recommendations for reporting on research investigating GS and mental HWB. This review highlights a need for large well-designed RCTs that reliably measure the GS exposome in relation to mental HWB. View Full-Text
Keywords: green space; mental health and wellbeing; exposome green space; mental health and wellbeing; exposome
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Wendelboe-Nelson, C.; Kelly, S.; Kennedy, M.; Cherrie, J.W. A Scoping Review Mapping Research on Green Space and Associated Mental Health Benefits. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2081.

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