Green qualities in the neighbourhood and mental health - results from a longitudinal cohort study in Southern Sweden

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Green qualities in the neighbourhood and mental health - results from a longitudinal cohort study in Southern Sweden. / Annerstedt, Matilda; Östergren, Per-Olof; Björk, Jonas; Grahn, Patrik; Skarback, Erik; Wahrborg, Peter.

I: BMC Public Health, Vol. 12, 2012.

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T1 - Green qualities in the neighbourhood and mental health - results from a longitudinal cohort study in Southern Sweden

AU - Annerstedt, Matilda

AU - Östergren, Per-Olof

AU - Björk, Jonas

AU - Grahn, Patrik

AU - Skarback, Erik

AU - Wahrborg, Peter

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Background: Poor mental health is a major issue worldwide and causality is complex. For diseases with multifactorial background synergistic effects of person-and place-factors can potentially be preventive. Nature is suggested as one such positive place-factor. In this cohort study we tested the effect of defined green qualities (Serene, Space, Wild, Culture, Lush) in the environment at baseline on mental health at follow-up. We also studied interaction effects on mental health of those place factors and varied person factors (financial stress, living conditions, and physical activity). Methods: Data on person factors were extracted from a longitudinal (years 1999/2000 and 2005) population health survey (n = 24945). The participants were geocoded and linked to data on green qualities from landscape assessments, and stored in the Geographical Information System (GIS). Crude odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated, and multivariate logistic analyses were performed. Results: Mental health was not affected by access to the chosen green qualities, neither in terms of amount nor in terms of any specific quality. However, we found a reduced risk for poor mental health at follow-up among women, through a significant interaction effect between physical activity and access to the qualities Serene or Space. For men the tendencies were similar, though not significant. Regarding the other three green qualities, as well as amount of qualities, no statistically certain synergistic effects were found. Likewise, no significant synergies were detected between green qualities and the other person-factors. Only advanced exercise significantly reduced the risk for poor mental health among women, but not for men, compared to physical inactivity. Conclusions: The results do not directly support the hypothesis of a preventive mental health effect by access to the green qualities. However, the additive effect of serene nature to physical activity contributed to better mental health at follow-up. This tendency was equal for both sexes, but statistically significant only for women. Objective landscape assessments may be important in detangling geographic determinants of health. This study stresses the importance of considering interaction effects when dealing with disorders of multifactorial background.

AB - Background: Poor mental health is a major issue worldwide and causality is complex. For diseases with multifactorial background synergistic effects of person-and place-factors can potentially be preventive. Nature is suggested as one such positive place-factor. In this cohort study we tested the effect of defined green qualities (Serene, Space, Wild, Culture, Lush) in the environment at baseline on mental health at follow-up. We also studied interaction effects on mental health of those place factors and varied person factors (financial stress, living conditions, and physical activity). Methods: Data on person factors were extracted from a longitudinal (years 1999/2000 and 2005) population health survey (n = 24945). The participants were geocoded and linked to data on green qualities from landscape assessments, and stored in the Geographical Information System (GIS). Crude odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated, and multivariate logistic analyses were performed. Results: Mental health was not affected by access to the chosen green qualities, neither in terms of amount nor in terms of any specific quality. However, we found a reduced risk for poor mental health at follow-up among women, through a significant interaction effect between physical activity and access to the qualities Serene or Space. For men the tendencies were similar, though not significant. Regarding the other three green qualities, as well as amount of qualities, no statistically certain synergistic effects were found. Likewise, no significant synergies were detected between green qualities and the other person-factors. Only advanced exercise significantly reduced the risk for poor mental health among women, but not for men, compared to physical inactivity. Conclusions: The results do not directly support the hypothesis of a preventive mental health effect by access to the green qualities. However, the additive effect of serene nature to physical activity contributed to better mental health at follow-up. This tendency was equal for both sexes, but statistically significant only for women. Objective landscape assessments may be important in detangling geographic determinants of health. This study stresses the importance of considering interaction effects when dealing with disorders of multifactorial background.

KW - Environment

KW - Population health

KW - Stress

KW - Salutogenic

KW - GIS

KW - Landscape

KW - assessment

KW - Synergistic effect

KW - Physical activity

KW - GHQ12

U2 - 10.1186/1471-2458-12-337

DO - 10.1186/1471-2458-12-337

M3 - Article

C2 - 22568888

VL - 12

JO - BMC Public Health

JF - BMC Public Health

SN - 1471-2458

ER -