Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Nigg, C., Petersen, E., & MacIntyre
Journal of Environmental Psychology
Natural Environments, Psychosocial Health, and Health Behaviors during COVID-19 – A Scoping Review.
Optional Fields
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to major restrictions globally, affecting people’s psychosocial health and their health behaviors. Thus, the purpose of this scoping review was to summarize the available research regarding the nature-health-association in the COVID-19 context. Keywords related to natural environments and COVID-19 were combined to conduct a systematic online search in six major databases. Eligibility criteria were a) published since 2020 with data collected in the COVID-19 context b) peer-reviewed, c) original empirical data collected on human participants, d) investigated the association between natural environments and psychosocial health or health behavior, and e) English, German, or Scandinavian language. Out of 8,568 articles being obtained, we identified 82 relevant articles representing 80 unique studies. Most studies focused on adults in the general population and were predominantly conducted in the USA and Europe. Overall, the findings tentatively indicate that nature mitigates the impact of COVID-19 on psychological health and physical activity. Through thematic analysis of the extracted data, three primary themes were identified: 1) type of nature assessed, 2) psychosocial health and health behaviors investigated, and 3) heterogeneity in the nature-health relationship. Research gaps in the COVID-19 context were identified regarding I) nature characteristics that promote psychosocial health and health behaviors, II) investigations of digital and virtual nature, III) psychological constructs relating to mental health promotion, IV) health behaviors other than physical activity, V) underlying mechanisms regarding heterogeneity in the nature-health relationship based on human, nature, and geographic characteristics, and VI) research focusing on vulnerable groups. Overall, natural environments demonstrate considerable potential in buffering the impact of stressful events on a population level on mental health. However, future research is warranted to fill the mentioned research gaps and to examine the long-term effects of nature exposure during COVID-19.
Grant Details