Green spaces: the restorative effect of walking in the natural environment on sustained attention, enjoyment, and gait speed.

Hardy, Hannah Louise (2019) Green spaces: the restorative effect of walking in the natural environment on sustained attention, enjoyment, and gait speed. Masters thesis, University of Chichester.

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Abstract

Background: Walking in green spaces or viewing computer-generated forms of nature can restore depleted attention; yet a limited number of studies have explicitly compared real-life nature experiences against simulation experiences. Moreover, a greater understanding of individual perception towards environmental greenness is required to comprehend the restorative power of being present in nature. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential effects of walking in green spaces on gait speed, enjoyment, perceived environmental restoration, and sustained attention.
Method: Using an experimental, within-groups repeated-measures design, testing conditions were randomised, namely outdoor parkland (nature), on a treadmill whilst watching the same simulated parkland (simulation), and on a treadmill in isolation (control). Twenty four participants (Mage = 23.67, SDage = 5.95) walked continuously at a self-selected speed for 15-minutes. Step count was recorded using an ActiGraph GT3X accelerometer fastened around the participants’ waist during each condition. Enjoyment and environmental restoration were measured using the PACES and PRS respectively post each condition. Attention was measured using the Arrow Flanker and Rapid Visual Information Processing tasks at baseline, and immediately post walk in each condition. Results: Two separate one-way repeated measures ANOVAs with Bonferroni correction revealed that step frequency (p = .001) and enjoyment (p > .001) were both significantly greater in the nature condition compared to both laboratory conditions, but the two laboratory conditions did not significantly differ. A one-way repeated measures MANOVA with univariate, main effects, one-way ANOVAs revealed that the PRS subscales were significantly greater in the nature condition compared to the two laboratory conditions (p > .001). Two separate one-way MANOVAs revealed significant differences in AF (p = .004) and RVIP (p = .03) performance scores between conditions. Univariate, main effects, one-way ANOVAs revealed that AF response speed was significantly faster at baseline compared nature (p > .001) and the grand mean of response speed across the laboratory conditions (p > .001). And RVIP response accuracy was significantly greater in the simulation and control conditions compared to baseline, but not nature. Conclusion: Walking in green spaces can significantly increase gait speed, enjoyment, and perceived environmental restorativeness over and above walking on a treadmill in simulated nature or control conditions. However, walking in green spaces did not result in improved, sustained attention performances compared to baseline measurement, walking in simulated nature
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or control conditions. Therefore, only partial support of ART was observed, as walking amongst green space elicited superior restoration, yet had no advantageous effect on sustained attention.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: MSc Sport & Exercise Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Departments > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 13:47
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2020 13:47
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5476

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