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expert reaction to different kinds of urban green spaces and mental health

Research, published in JAMA Network Open, reports an association between the amount of green space accessed and a persons mental health.


Prof David Curtis, Honorary Professor, UCL Genetics Institute, said:

“I really can’t see how examining this kind of association could possibly show that different kinds of green space actually had causative effects on people’s mental health. There are likely to be so many factors involved with how much grass or trees are nearby that these are likely to be simple substitute measures for some other aspects of people’s lifestyle. From the results, it is obvious that the measures of greenery are strongly correlated with other potentially relevant variables and any positive results obtained could simply reflect a failure to adequately control for such variables. There are likely to be additional relevant variables which were not even measured. In fact, the main finding is that there was no association at all between different amounts of greenery and anxiety or depression.  Overall, I would not use the findings of this study as a basis to make recommendations on how we should include greenery in our living environment.”


‘Association of Urban Green Space With Mental Health and General Health Among Adults in Australia’ by Thomas Astell-Burt et al. was published in JAMA Network Open at 16:00 UK time on Friday 26th July. 

DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8209


Declared interests

Prof David Curtis: I have no conflict of interest.

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