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Article

Comparative Study of the Restorative Effects of Forest and Urban Videos during COVID-19 Lockdown: Intrinsic and Benchmark Values

1
Institute for Bioeconomy, National Research Council, 10 Via Madonna del Piano, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
2
Pian dei Termini Forest Therapy Station, 2311 Via Pratorsi, I-51028 San Marcello Piteglio, Italy
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Section of Psychology—Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child’s Health (NEUROFARBA), University of Florence, 12 Via di San Salvi, I-50135 Firenze, Italy
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Department of Education, Languages, Intercultural Studies, Literatures, and Psychology (FORLILPSI), University of Florence, 12 Via di San Salvi, I-50135 Firenze, Italy
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Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, 1 Via Giuseppe Moruzzi, I-56124 Pisa, Italy
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Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine—Nippon Medical School, 1-1-5 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8603, Japan
7
Central Scientific Committee, Italian Alpine Club, 19 Via E. Petrella, I-20124 Milano, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8011; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218011
Received: 29 August 2020 / Revised: 24 October 2020 / Accepted: 28 October 2020 / Published: 30 October 2020
The prolonged lockdown imposed to contain the COrona VIrus Disease 19 COVID-19 pandemic prevented many people from direct contact with nature and greenspaces, raising alarms for a possible worsening of mental health. This study investigated the effectiveness of a simple and affordable remedy for improving psychological well-being, based on audio-visual stimuli brought by a short computer video showing forest environments, with an urban video as a control. Randomly selected participants were assigned the forest or urban video, to look at and listen to early in the morning, and questionnaires to fill out. In particular, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) Form Y collected in baseline condition and at the end of the study and the Part II of the Sheehan Patient Rated Anxiety Scale (SPRAS) collected every day immediately before and after watching the video. The virtual exposure to forest environments showed effective to reduce perceived anxiety levels in people forced by lockdown in limited spaces and environmental deprivation. Although significant, the effects were observed only in the short term, highlighting the limitation of the virtual experiences. The reported effects might also represent a benchmark to disentangle the determinants of health effects due to real forest experiences, for example, the inhalation of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC). View Full-Text
Keywords: anxiety; audio-visual stimulation; COVID-19; environmental enrichment; forest environments; forest therapy; lockdown; mental health; stress; quarantine anxiety; audio-visual stimulation; COVID-19; environmental enrichment; forest environments; forest therapy; lockdown; mental health; stress; quarantine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zabini, F.; Albanese, L.; Becheri, F.R.; Gavazzi, G.; Giganti, F.; Giovanelli, F.; Gronchi, G.; Guazzini, A.; Laurino, M.; Li, Q.; Marzi, T.; Mastorci, F.; Meneguzzo, F.; Righi, S.; Viggiano, M.P. Comparative Study of the Restorative Effects of Forest and Urban Videos during COVID-19 Lockdown: Intrinsic and Benchmark Values. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8011. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218011

AMA Style

Zabini F, Albanese L, Becheri FR, Gavazzi G, Giganti F, Giovanelli F, Gronchi G, Guazzini A, Laurino M, Li Q, Marzi T, Mastorci F, Meneguzzo F, Righi S, Viggiano MP. Comparative Study of the Restorative Effects of Forest and Urban Videos during COVID-19 Lockdown: Intrinsic and Benchmark Values. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(21):8011. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218011

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zabini, Federica, Lorenzo Albanese, Francesco Riccardo Becheri, Gioele Gavazzi, Fiorenza Giganti, Fabio Giovanelli, Giorgio Gronchi, Andrea Guazzini, Marco Laurino, Qing Li, Tessa Marzi, Francesca Mastorci, Francesco Meneguzzo, Stefania Righi, and Maria Pia Viggiano. 2020. "Comparative Study of the Restorative Effects of Forest and Urban Videos during COVID-19 Lockdown: Intrinsic and Benchmark Values" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 21: 8011. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218011

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