Natural scenery has long been accepted and utilized in mental health circles as an effective tool for the reduction of psychological stress. However, the exact nature of this relationship has yet to be thoroughly examined in academic literature.
A new study by Bin Jiang and colleagues, published in the May 2016 issue of Environment and Behavior, helps to lessen this deficit by employing a dose-response curve model to analyze the link between tree canopy coverage and stress reduction in an urban environment.
In the experiment, 158 subjects were first exposed to a mild stressor and then viewed an urban scene with varying amounts of tree coverage using a 360-degree headset. The researchers were careful to exclude potential subjects with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as these conditions could have had an undesirable impact on the experiment (and vice versa).