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Open AccessArticle

Feeling Connected after Experiencing Digital Nature: A Survey Study

1
Communication Science, University of Twente, De Zul 10, 7522 NJ Enschede, The Netherlands
2
Digital Life Research Group, University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, Wibautstraat 2, 1091 GM Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6879; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186879
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 14 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Health)
Digital nature can provide a substitute for real nature for those who have limited access to green space, or are confined to their homes, for example during the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. In a large-scale online survey, respondents (N = 1203) watched videos of digital nature, varying in terms of type of nature (wild versus tended nature) and spaciousness. Results show a significant increase of feelings of connectedness to the community after watching digital nature. Furthermore, tended nature scenes elicited more social aspirations than wild nature scenes. A multiple regression model further shows that living further away from nature was a significant predictor for loneliness scores, while number of nature interactions during a week was not. Results of this study confirm the importance of nature interaction for mental and social wellbeing for the general population and stress the potential of digital nature as a complementary strategy. These findings are of particular relevance to those who lack access to nature due to old age and related mobility constraints or a lockdown. View Full-Text
Keywords: digital nature; survey; loneliness; connectedness; social aspirations digital nature; survey; loneliness; connectedness; social aspirations
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van Houwelingen-Snippe, J.; van Rompay, T.J.L.; Ben Allouch, S. Feeling Connected after Experiencing Digital Nature: A Survey Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6879.

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