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Urban Mind: Using Smartphone Technologies to Investigate the Impact of Nature on Mental Well-Being in Real Time

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ioannis Bakolis, Ryan Hammoud, Michael Smythe, Johanna Gibbons, Neil Davidson, Stefania Tognin, Andrea Mechelli

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)bix149-bix149
JournalBIOSCIENCE
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

10.1093/biosci/bix149

King's Authors

Abstract

Existing evidence on the beneficial effects of nature on mental health comes from studies using cross-sectional designs. We developed a smartphone-based tool (Urban Mind; www.urbanmind.info) to examine how exposure to natural features within the built environment affects mental well-being in real time. The tool was used to monitor 108 individuals who completed 3013 assessments over a 1-week period. Significant immediate and lagged associations with mental well-being were found for several natural features. These associations were stronger in people with higher trait impulsivity, a psychological measure of one's tendency to behave with little forethought or consideration of the consequences, which is indicative of a higher risk of developing mental-health issues. Our investigation suggests that the benefits of nature on mental well-being are time-lasting and interact with an individual's vulnerability to mental illness. These findings have potential implications from the perspectives of global mental health as well as urban planning and design.

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