University of Twente Student Theses


Green time and mental health : existing interventions and green time needs of stressed students

Strohmeier, K.M. (2022) Green time and mental health : existing interventions and green time needs of stressed students.

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Abstract:Introduction. The individual, interpersonal, societal, and economical effects of mental health issues are large. Especially cost- and resource-effective interventions are needed to help clinically ill individuals. Green time (GT) has been shown to yield positive effects on mental and physical health. While the use of GT for e.g. children is widely researched, the benefits of GT interventions for psychologically ill individuals are less explored. Aim. This two-parted study aimed to explore already existing GT interventions and their effects on clinical samples, as well as the knowledge, needs, and barriers towards spending GT in stressed students. Methods. First, a systematic literature review was conducted to review papers about GT increasing interventions for clinical samples measuring effects on mental health. Second, an interview study with fifteen stressed students was conducted to explore their knowledge, beliefs, needs, and barriers towards spending GT. Additionally, the interviewees were asked for possible ways to overcome their obstacles towards spending GT. The quality assessment tool for quantitative studies revealed most studies as being of low quality (n = 4), while each one was of moderate (n=1) and high quality (n=1). The six included articles described several forms of GT increasing interventions, involving walking interventions, interventions based on societal need, animal-assisted therapy and nature-based therapy (NBR). Positive effects of GT on mental health in adult clinical samples, as for example decreased depression or increased self-efficacy were found in six studies. The interviews resulted in clusters of needs, beliefs, and barriers towards spending GT in stressed students. Having too little free time or access to green spaces were obstacles most participants experience. All participants mentioned experiencing positive feelings through spending GT. Fourteen named the change of scenery and sensations as compared to their daily life as a key factor of the positive influences of GT on them. Discussion. GT can help stressed students to maintain their mental health and distress, as well as clinical samples to deal with their symptoms and gain quality of life. Knowledge about GT (increasing interventions) needs to be spread to relevant stakeholders and clinically ill individuals. The combination of self-efficacy treatment with GT, and of farm animal care with GT could be efficient ways to enhance GT levels and its effects in clinical samples and stressed students. The effects of GT increasing interventions on specific groups, like anxious individuals, must be further validated. Current results need to be replicated through studies of high quality. Keywords. Green time increasing interventions, clinical samples, literature review, interview study, mental health
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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