Study reveals importance of personal outdoor space for mental health during pandemic
People without their own outdoor space were more likely to struggle with their minds during the pandemic, new research has shown.
Health experts from the University of Aberdeen and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) interviewed 2,969 participants in June and July last year.
UHI’s Professor Gill Hubbard led the project which showed that having outdoor space is good for mental health. Participants with a garden or patio reported better mental health than those without outdoor space.
She said: “The study also shows that people living in affluent areas have better mental health than those in deprived areas. Taken together, this shows that the effects of this pandemic are worse for people who don’t live in homes with accessible gardens. “
Research found that women “consistently” reported more anxiety and depression than men, while younger people reported more anxiety than older people.
The study suggests that improving access to residential outdoor spaces could help improve an individual’s mental health during a pandemic.
For those identified as having a higher risk of contracting Covid, the link between the lack of outdoor space was stronger.
A total of 407 adults participating in the study fell into the shielding category and they said restrictions on social distancing in outdoor public spaces hurt their mental health.
Continue the study
Professor Diane Dixon, University of Aberdeen, is currently completing a more in-depth study on mental health during a pandemic.
She said: ‘The research team is currently investigating whether there is also a link between where people live, their risk beliefs and whether they will receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
“We will present this evidence to the government to support national efforts to keep people safe and protect their mental health during this pandemic and potentially the future.”