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12.06.2022


Living in rural areas better for mental health than living in the city

If you want to feel better, and you can afford it, move to a greener environment. Swap the crowded city for the barren countryside. Well, you'll need to learn how to defend yourself against deadly squirrels and starlings, and maybe even carnivorous grasshoppers. Every time you have to go to Wallmart, you will have to fight the elements. But on the other hand, your mental health will improve.


Living in rural areas better for mental health than living in the city


Study
Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK followed 1064 Britons who were moving. The researchers determined the mental health of the British on the basis of the General Health Questionnaire. This happened in the two-year period preceding the move, and in the three-year period following the move.

The researchers divided their study participants into two groups. One group moved to a greener environment, for example exchanging a house in the city for a house in a village. The other group made the opposite move.


Living in rural areas better for mental health than living in the city


Results
The study participants who moved to a greener environment became significantly healthier mentally in the following years. In the study participants who moved from a green to a less green environment, the researchers found no significant changes in mental health.

Of course, the researchers adjusted their data for other factors, such as home size, travel time, age and income.


Living in rural areas better for mental health than living in the city



Living in rural areas better for mental health than living in the city


Conclusion
"Moving to greener urban areas was associated with sustained mental health improvements, suggesting that environmental policies to increase urban green space may have sustainable public health benefits", write the researchers.

Source:
Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Jan 21;48(2):1247-55.

More:
How gardening improves brain function 12.05.2022
Natural environment lowers cortisol levels 09.04.2019
Walking in green areas healthier than walking in the city 20.06.2012

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Psychology


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