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A dose of nature: Tree cover, stress reduction, and gender differencesAuthor(s): Bin Jiang; Chun-Yen Chang; William C. Sullivan
Source: Landscape and Urban Planning. 132: 26-36.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
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DescriptionAlthough it is well established that exposure to nearby nature can help reduce stress in individuals, the shape of the dose-response curve is entirely unclear. To establish this dose-response curve, we recruited 160 individuals for a laboratory experiment. Participants engaged in the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) to induce psychological stress, and were then randomly assigned to view one of ten, 6-min, 3-D videos of neighborhood streets. The density of tree cover in the videos varied from 1.7% to 62.0%. We measured their stress reactions by assessing salivary cortisol and skin conductance levels. Results show a clear disparity between women and men. For women, we found no relationship between varying densities of tree cover and stress recovery. For men, the dose-response curve was an inverted-U shape: as tree cover density increased from 1.7% to 24%, stress recovery increased. Tree density between 24% to 34% resulted in no change in stress recovery. Tree densities above 34% were associated with slower recovery times. A quadratic regression using tree cover density as the independent variable and a summary stress index as the dependent variable substantiated these results [R2 = .22, F (2, 68) = 9.70, p < .001]. The implications for our understanding of the impacts of nearby nature, and for the practice of planning and landscape architecture are discussed.
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CitationJiang, Bin; Chang, Chun-Yen; Sullivan, William C. 2014. A dose of nature: Tree cover, stress reduction, and gender differences. Landscape and Urban Planning. 132: 26-36.
KeywordsDose-response curve, Stress reduction, Salivary cortisol, Skin conductance, Tree cover density, 3-D visual media
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