Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing) Reduces Stress and Increases People's Positive Affect and Well-Being in Comparison with Its Digital Counterpart

Markwell, N. and Gladwin, T. E. (2020) Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing) Reduces Stress and Increases People's Positive Affect and Well-Being in Comparison with Its Digital Counterpart. Ecopsychology, 12 (4). pp. 247-256. ISSN 1942-9347

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Separation from nature may contribute to stress and reduced well-being. Shinrin-yoku may be an effective and cost-effective method to improve mental health by immersion in forests/woodlands. This study experimentally tested the effect of Shinrin-yoku on stress, affect, and well-being and sought to gain further insight into the experience of participating in Shinrin-yoku. A mixed methods experimental design was used to conduct the study. A total of 22 participants, stratified by hand, were assigned to one of two conditions: the actual nature (Shinrin-yoku) condition and the digital nature (digital Shinrin-yoku) condition. Scales were used to measure four aspects of mental health: stress, positive affect, negative affect, and well-being. Participants completed 4 h-long sessions and questionnaires were completed at four time points: baseline, 2-week point, postintervention, and 1-month follow-up. A mixed between-within analysis of covariance was used to analyze the questionnaire data. In addition, participants took part in interviews and gave answers to open-ended questions, which were analyzed using thematic analysis. Actual Shinrin-yoku was found to increase positive affect and well-being significantly more than the digital Shinrin-yoku condition. This significant difference for positive affect between the two conditions remained at the 1-month follow-up. A number of themes were identified characterizing similarities and differences between the Shinrin-yoku and digital Shirin-yoku conditions. Positive emotions were experienced in both conditions, but although Shinrin-yoku was associated with mental refreshment, the digital Shinrin-yoku condition was associated with loss of concentration.

Publication Type: Articles
Additional Information: ** From Crossref journal articles via Jisc Publications Router ** History: ppub 01-12-2020; issued 01-12-2020.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Applied Psychology, Social Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC435 Psychiatry > RC475 Theraputics. Pyschotherapy
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router Jisc
Depositing User: Publications Router Jisc
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 08:55
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2021 01:10

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