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Joschko, Lilly, 2021. Do nature lovers recover better from nature-based therapy? : focusing on connectedness to nature and mental well-being in nature-based therapy. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of People and Society

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Psychosomatic mental health disorders in Germany have been increasing in recent years. Individuals experience vast suffering and public health care faces high treatment costs. One approach to treating psychosomatic disorders is nature-based therapy. Previous studies have reported several positive effects of nature-based therapy including improvement in patient’s mental well-being and decreased depression. The aim of this thesis is to investigate whether nature-based therapy can improve the mental well-being of psychosomatic patients and increase their connectedness to nature (CTN). With a mixed method ‘action research’ approach, using both qualitative and quantitative data, 20 psychosomatic patients from Havelhöhe hospital participated in this prospective study. Within the integrative approach they received nature-based therapy 3x/week. CTN was tested with two questionnaires (‘Connectedness to nature scale’ (CNS), ‘Connectedness to nature index’ (CNI)) and mental well-being with the subscale ‘mental-wellbeing’ from HEALTH-49 questionnaire (WOHL). The results showed significant improvements in CNS (p = 0.01) and WOHL (p = 0.00) but not CNI (p = 0.52). This indicates an improvement on mental well-being and CTN through nature-based therapy. Additionally, the underlying construct of CTN is not the same in CNS and CNI. The results also showed a significant correlation between CNS and WOHL in both baseline and post-testing. Thus, the CTN is correlated with mental well-being in psychosomatic patients. The results showed no evidence that nature lovers (high CTN) gained more mental well-being (higher scores on WOHL) from nature-therapy than participants with low CTN. Rather, the low CTN group had greater increases to WOHL scores than the high CTN group. In general, the high CTN group had a larger range (before and after the treatment). The ‘evaluation of nature-based therapy from the patient's perspective’ as self-rating questionnaire revealed that everyone (100%) experienced the nature-based therapy as effective and felt that something on the soul level improved. Most individuals experienced nature-based therapy as satisfactory (87%), felt an improvement on their mood level (93%) and it helped patients coping with their problems and illness (87%). Moreover, results showed lower severity of depressiveness, somatoform disorders and stress in psychosomatic patients. To conclude, this data study provides evidence of a positive effect from nature-based therapy for psychosomatic patients. This finding advocates for the need for further studies with greater sample sizes to better quantify how nature-therapy can be integrated into therapy programs.

Main title:Do nature lovers recover better from nature-based therapy?
Subtitle:focusing on connectedness to nature and mental well-being in nature-based therapy
Authors:Joschko, Lilly
Supervisor:Palsdottir, Anna Maria and Hinse, Maximilian
Examiner:Stoltz, Jonathan and Grahn, Patrik
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM007 Outdoor environments for health and well-being - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of People and Society
Keywords:nature-based therapy, integrative approach, connectedness to nature, mental well-being, psychosomatic patients, depression, effectiveness
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Nature conservation and land resources
Social sciences, humanities and education
Deposited On:13 Dec 2021 09:04
Metadata Last Modified:14 Dec 2021 02:01

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