Jump to Main Content
Multiple pathways link urban green- and bluespace to mental health in young adults
- Dzhambov, Angel M., Markevych, Iana, Hartig, Terry, Tilov, Boris, Arabadzhiev, Zlatoslav, Stoyanov, Drozdstoj, Gatseva, Penka, Dimitrova, Donka D.
- Environmental research 2018 v.166 pp. 223-233
- air pollution, green infrastructure, mental health, noise pollution, normalized difference vegetation index, physical activity, questionnaires, social cohesion, structural equation modeling, students, trees, young adults, Bulgaria
- A growing body of scientific literature indicates that urban green- and bluespace support mental health; however, little research has attempted to address the complexities in likely interrelations among the pathways through which benefits plausibly are realized.The present study examines how different plausible pathways between green/bluespace and mental health can work together. Both objective and perceived measures of green- and bluespace are used in these models.We sampled 720 students from the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Residential greenspace was measured in terms of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), tree cover density, percentage of green areas, and Euclidean distance to the nearest green space. Bluespace was measured in terms of its presence in the neighborhood and the Euclidean distance to the nearest bluespace. Mental health was measured with the 12-item form of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). The following mediators were considered: perceived neighborhood green/bluespace, restorative quality of the neighborhood, social cohesion, physical activity, noise and air pollution, and environmental annoyance. Structural equation modelling techniques were used to analyze the data.Higher NDVI within a 300 m buffer around the residence was associated with better mental health through higher perceived greenspace; through higher perceived greenspace, leading to increased restorative quality, and subsequently to increased physical activity (i.e., serial mediation); through lower noise exposure, which in turn was associated with lower annoyance; and through higher perceived greenspace, which was associated with lower annoyance. Presence of bluespace within a 300 m buffer did not have a straightforward association with mental health owing to competitive indirect paths: one supporting mental health through higher perceived bluespace, restorative quality, and physical activity; and another engendering mental ill-health through higher noise exposure and annoyance.We found evidence that having more greenspace near the residence supported mental health through several indirect pathways with serial components. Conversely, bluespace was not clearly associated with mental health.