News Release 

How is urban green space associated with mental health?

JAMA Network Open

Bottom Line: This observational study looked at how green space is associated with mental health. Some research has suggested living near more green space may be associated with benefits. This analysis included nearly 47,000 city-dwelling adults in Australia and examined how living near different kinds of green space (including tree canopy, grass and low-lying vegetation) may be associated with risk of psychological distress, self-reported physician-diagnosed depression or anxiety, and fair to poor self-reported general health. The three outcomes were examined at baseline and  follow-up about six years later. The authors report exposure to more tree canopy was associated with a lower likelihood of psychological distress and better self-rated general health. No green space indicator was associated with depression or anxiety. Exposure to low-lying vegetation wasn't consistently associated with any outcome. Exposure to more grass was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting fair to poor general health and prevalent psychological distress. Limitations of the study include self-reported health outcomes and green space availability that may have decreased in some areas over time, which may mean the results underestimate the associations.

Authors: Thomas Astell-Burt, Ph.D., and Xiaoqi Feng, Ph.D., of the University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8209)

Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Wednesday and Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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