This is one of those “yes yes yes” type of research projects where the findings reinforce what you think, that spending time in nature as a child is really important for mental health.

Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (also called IS Global) found a strong relationship between growing up away from the natural world and adverse mental health in adulthood.

The scientists collected data from 3,585 people from four cities in Europe Barcelona, Spain; Doetinchem, the Netherlands; Kaunas, Lithuania; and Stoke-on-Trent in the UK.

The study found low exposure to nature during childhood was associated with higher levels of nervousness and feelings of depression as adults.

According to this really good and easy-to-understand article, Co-author Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, director of IS Global’s urban planning, environment and health initiative says “What we found is that the childhood experience of green space can actually predict mental health in later life....The people that reported more exposure to nature actually have better mental health than those that don’t even after we adjust for exposure at the time of the interview, when they are adults.”


Link to easy-to-understand article in Get Pocket:

Scientific reference:

Preuß M, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Marquez S, et al. Low Childhood Nature Exposure is Associated with Worse Mental Health in Adulthood. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(10):1809. Published 2019 May 22. doi:10.3390/ijerph16101809