Effects of urban green and countryside walks on self-esteem and affect in mid- to older-aged adults

Crust, Lee and Henderson, Hannah and Middleton, Geoff (2012) Effects of urban green and countryside walks on self-esteem and affect in mid- to older-aged adults. In: BPS Annual Conference, 18-20 April 2012, Grand Connaught Rooms London.

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Abstract

Objective:
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of low to moderate intensity walking in two different green exercise environments. Walking in open countryside was hypothesised to be more enjoyable than urban green environments with significantly larger changes in affect and self-esteem predicted in the former.
Design:
Measures of self-esteem and affect were taken immediately before and after walking to allow within and between participant analyses. Mixed model ANOVA was used to test for differences.
Methods:
Participants were 83 members of recreational walking groups (62.9 ± 9.3 years). Participants completed short walks (60-90 min.) in either urban green (e.g., urban parks, n = 49), or countryside environments (n = 34). Participants completed questionnaires to measure self-esteem and affective states before and after walking. Enjoyment of physical activity was measured post-walk.
Results:
Significant increases in positive affect and significant decreases in negative affect were found following walk completion (p <.01). No differences in affective states were found between environments. Significant increases in self-esteem were found (p <.01), with countryside walkers reporting significantly higher post-walk levels than urban green walkers (p <.05). Significantly higher levels of enjoyment (p <.05) were reported by countryside walkers. Moderate effect sizes were comparable to previous findings.
Conclusions:
Different walking environments appear to have different effects on reported self-esteem, with countryside walks found to be more beneficial. As such, walk leaders should chose walking routes with care. Findings for differences in enjoyment are important given that enjoyment is a recognised determinant of adherence.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of low to moderate intensity walking in two different green exercise environments. Walking in open countryside was hypothesised to be more enjoyable than urban green environments with significantly larger changes in affect and self-esteem predicted in the former. Design: Measures of self-esteem and affect were taken immediately before and after walking to allow within and between participant analyses. Mixed model ANOVA was used to test for differences. Methods: Participants were 83 members of recreational walking groups (62.9 ± 9.3 years). Participants completed short walks (60-90 min.) in either urban green (e.g., urban parks, n = 49), or countryside environments (n = 34). Participants completed questionnaires to measure self-esteem and affective states before and after walking. Enjoyment of physical activity was measured post-walk. Results: Significant increases in positive affect and significant decreases in negative affect were found following walk completion (p <.01). No differences in affective states were found between environments. Significant increases in self-esteem were found (p <.01), with countryside walkers reporting significantly higher post-walk levels than urban green walkers (p <.05). Significantly higher levels of enjoyment (p <.05) were reported by countryside walkers. Moderate effect sizes were comparable to previous findings. Conclusions: Different walking environments appear to have different effects on reported self-esteem, with countryside walks found to be more beneficial. As such, walk leaders should chose walking routes with care. Findings for differences in enjoyment are important given that enjoyment is a recognised determinant of adherence.
Keywords:Green Exercise
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:5700
Deposited By: Lee Crust
Deposited On:25 May 2012 11:44
Last Modified:25 May 2012 11:44

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