How effective is the Forestry Commission Scotland's woodland improvement programme—‘Woods In and Around Towns’ (WIAT)—at improving psychological well-being in deprived urban communities? A quasi-experimental study

Eva Silveirinha de Oliveira, Peter Aspinall, Andrew Briggs, Steven Cummins, Alastair H. Leyland, Richard Mitchell, Catharine Ward Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: There is a growing body of evidence that suggests greenspaces may positively influence psychological wellbeing. This project is designed to take advantage of a natural experiment where planned physical and social interventions to enhance access to natural environments in deprived communities provide an opportunity to prospectively assess impacts on perceived stress and mental wellbeing.
Study design and Methods: A controlled, prospective study comprising a repeat cross-sectional survey of residents living within 1.5km of intervention and comparison sites. Three waves of data will be collected: pre-physical environment intervention (2013); post-physical environment intervention (2014) and post-woodland promotion social intervention (2015). The primary outcome will be a measure of perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale – PSS) pre- and post-intervention. Secondary, self-report outcomes include: mental wellbeing (SWEMWBS), changes in physical activity (IPAQ-short form), health (EuroQoL EQ-5D), perception and use of the woodlands, connectedness to nature (Inclusion of Nature in Self Scale), social cohesion and social capital. An environmental audit will complement the study by evaluating the physical changes in the environment over time and recording any other contextual changes over time. A process evaluation will assess the implementation of the programme. A health economics analysis will assess the cost consequences of each stage of the intervention in relation to the primary and secondary outcomes of the study.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere003648
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Volume3
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • social forestry
  • mental wellbeing
  • perceived stress
  • urban deprivation
  • green space

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