Understanding the relationship between time spent outdoors, mental well-being and health-related behaviours in a Spanish sample: a real-time smartphone-based study

Ana Catalan Alcantara*, Stefania Tognin, Ryan Hammoud, Claudia Aymerich, Borja Pedruzo, Amaia Bilbao, Gonzalo Salazar de Pablo, Malein Pacho, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Miguel Angel Gonzalez-Torres

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lifestyle and physical and mental well-being. We aimed to study the effect of being outdoors and mental well-being after the COVID-19 pandemic. Material and methods: We used smartphone based ecological momentary assessments (EMA) (Urban Mind app) to study the mental well-being of the Spanish general population. We collected socio-demographic data, past and current physical and mental health, and social and physical environment. Participants were recruited during 5 months (February to June 2021). Longitudinal associations between EMA and anxiety, depression, loneliness, tiredness, and happiness during the assessments were investigated using random intercept ordinal logistic regression models. Results: 274 subjects downloaded the app and completed the baseline assessment. 66 participants completed at least 50 % of the assessments. Being outdoors was related to a lower likelihood of anxiety (OR: 0.48, 95 %CI 0.34–0.66), depression (OR: 0.40, 95 %CI 0.28–0.56), tiredness (OR: 0.47, 95 %CI 0.35–0.63), and loneliness (OR: 0.59, 95 %CI 0.42–0.84), and a higher likelihood of happiness (OR: 2.14, 95 %CI 1.57–2.93). Conclusions: Being outdoors is related to better mental health in the general population independently of other factors (baseline mental well-being or socio-demographic characteristics). Public policies should include measurements to promote outdoor spaces in urban settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115494
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume329
Early online date25 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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