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Three good things in nature: a nature-based positive psychological intervention to improve mood and well-being for depression and anxiety

Rosaline Keenan (Office of the Head of Service Mental Health, Mental Health Services, HSE Community Healthcare Organisation One, Cavan, Ireland)
Ryan Lumber (School of Applied Social Sciences, Psychology, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Miles Richardson (School of Psychology, University of Derby Online Learning, University of Derby, Derby, UK)
David Sheffield (School of Psychology, University of Derby Online Learning, University of Derby, Derby, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 8 October 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Visiting and connecting with nature through psychological interventions improves well-being within the general population. However, few such interventions have been conducted in clinically relevant populations. This paper aims to address this gap by investigating the effectiveness of a nature-based psychological intervention within a clinically relevant sample.

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental design using a noticing Three Good Things in Nature (TGTiN) task during a nature based or urban (control) walk was conducted with nature connectedness, well-being, positive and negative affect measured at baseline, post and six-week follow-up. Individuals living with depression and/or anxiety (n = 50; 39 having a diagnosis) were randomly allocated to 30 min walking in nature or urban environments for five consecutive days.

Findings

An ANCOVA, with age as co-variate, showed a significant effect of time by condition on all variables: nature connectedness ηp2 = 0.34; positive affect ηp2 = 0.42; negative affect ηp2 = 0.66; well-being ηp2 = 0.29. Post-hoc tests indicated a significant increase in nature connectedness and positive affect in the nature versus an urban walk at post and follow-up. Negative affect decreased in the nature walk at post intervention, while well-being was significantly greater in the nature walk at follow-up.

Originality/value

The TGTiN intervention effectively improves positive affect, and well-being in clinically relevant populations, although replication with a larger sample is warranted.

Keywords

Citation

Keenan, R., Lumber, R., Richardson, M. and Sheffield, D. (2021), "Three good things in nature: a nature-based positive psychological intervention to improve mood and well-being for depression and anxiety", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-02-2021-0029

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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