12.00 PM - 1.30 PM
Current literature suggests that exposure to green space has a wide range of beneficial health effects, including physical, social, and mental health. However, the relationship between green spaces and mental health remains uncertain. Therefore, studies need to consider multiple aspects of green spaces and mental health and well-being outcomes.
This PhD project has three main aims: 1) to explore the perceived mental health benefits of green spaces and features of green space that influence mental health in adults; 2) to evaluate the effects of green space interventions on park use, physical activity, mental health and well-being, and 3) to investigate the association between green space and incident and prevalent mental health and well-being.
Study 1 is a qualitative study, which will be conducted using focus group discussions and individual interviews to explore perceived mental health benefits of green spaces and identify the design and maintenance of elements of green space that influence mental health in adults. For the focus groups, apparently healthy adults 18 years and older will be recruited from those living in Ipswich and Toowoomba City. Staff of the city councils will be recruited for individual interviews. All group discussions and interviews will be audio recorded and transcribed, and thematic analysis will be conducted using NVivo 12.
Study 2 is a natural experimental study that will be conducted with three intervention parks and three control parks. The Observation of Play and Recreation in Communities tool will be used to observe the total number of visitors and their activity. Intercept surveys will be conducted to assess the usual activity levels, perceptions about the parks, and mental health and well-being of park visitors. Community residents' surveys will be conducted to evaluate the intervention effects at the community level. The main outcome data include general health, life satisfaction, depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness will be obtained. Multivariable regression models will be fitted to examine intervention effects on the number of park visitors, physical activity, mental health and well-being.
Study 3 is a retrospective cohort study, which will be conducted using data from the Australian Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and green space cover within Statistical Area A1 will be computed. Data on outcome variables will be obtained, including general health and Mental Component Summary and psychological distress. Multivariable regression models will be fitted to examine the association between NDVI and green space cover and incident or prevalent mental health and well-being outcomes.
The findings inform designs and policies that maximise the health benefits of green spaces and contribute to achieving preventing premature mortality and promoting mental health well-being targeted in Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 3.
For more information, please email the Graduate Research School or phone 0746 31 1088