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Enhancing wellbeing with psychological tasks along forest trails

Korpela, Kalevi, Savonen, Eira-Maija, Anttila, Suvi, Pasanen, Tytti and Ratcliffe, Eleanor (2017) Enhancing wellbeing with psychological tasks along forest trails Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 26. pp. 25-30.

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The purpose of the study was to investigate whether deliberate psychological tasks, intended to focus people’s attention on the interaction between themselves and natural surroundings, are linked with mood enhancement and self-reported restoration. In four European countries (Finland, France, Luxembourg, Sweden), we surveyed the experiences of volunteers (N = 299) who walked forest trails and carried out psychological tasks printed on the signposts along them. We investigated the similarities and differences of the trail experiences between the countries. Via multigroup modeling, we further examined the moderating role of nature-connectedness in relationships between satisfaction with the contents of the psychological tasks, mood enhancement, and restorative benefits. The results showed that, independent of age and gender, participants were more satisfied with the trails in Sweden and Luxembourg than in Finland. We detected no reliable differences in the restorative experiences or willingness to recommend the trail for others. In the moderation model, satisfaction with the signposts’ contents was connected to positive restorative change and mood enhancement. The moderator effects of nature-connectedness were not significant for either outcome. Thus, it is likely that satisfactory tasks will work equally well for people varying in nature-connectedness. This is a promising prospect for public health promotion. The fairly high level of nature-connectedness among the participants limits the generalizability of our results.

Conclusions concerning the role of nature-connectedness should be made with caution due to the limited coverage of the concept in our measure. Future studies that separate the effect of psychological tasks from the restorative effects of nature itself are needed.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Korpela, Kalevi
Savonen, Eira-Maija
Anttila, Suvi
Pasanen, Tytti
Date : 6 June 2017
DOI : 10.1016/j.ufug.2017.06.004
Uncontrolled Keywords : Engagement; Psychological tasks; Forest trail; Mood; Restoration; Nature-connectedness
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 29 Jan 2019 15:40
Last Modified : 29 Jan 2019 15:45

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