About this Research Topic
In recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence from fields such as public health, architecture, ecology, landscape, forestry, psychology, sport science, psychiatry, and geography suggesting that nature enhances psychological health and wellbeing. Physical activity in the presence of nature, feelings of connection to nature, engagement with nature, specific environmental features (e.g., therapeutic water and trees) and images of real and virtual nature have all been posited as important wellbeing facilitators. Thus, the association between natural environments and health outcomes might be more complex than initially understood. Despite the number of studies showing improvements in psychological health and wellbeing through nature-based physical activities or feelings of connection to nature, the exact role and influence of the natural environment in this process is still rather unclear. Research is also beginning to consider the importance of individual differences, meaning, and the person-environment relationship in the development of wellbeing and health outcomes. Furthermore traditional theoretical notions, such as biophilia, topophilia, restoration theories, and stress reduction theories typically used to interpret findings are also being questioned. Often one of the main barriers for practitioners is the vast array of theories that claim to effectively explain research findings, but that tend to be only partially relevant (e.g., for physical activity or restoration), focus on the characteristics of the person (e.g., nature relatedness), and only some features of the landscape (e.g., therapeutic landscapes).
This Research Topic therefore aims to bring together cutting edge ideas and research from a wide set of disciplines with the purpose of exploring interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary approaches to understanding the psychological health and wellbeing benefits of human-nature interactions. We are particularly interested in exploring:
1. Research that takes an interdisciplinary approach to health, wellbeing, and the role of nature (e.g., sport science and psychology, or ecology and engineering, or public health and geography).
2. Theoretical concepts that cross disciplines and aim to provide a fuller understanding of psychological health and wellbeing from human-nature relationships.
3. Research that probes the relationship between current focuses on the role of engagement with nature, feelings of connection to nature, and physical activity in nature.
Keywords: psychological wellbeing, mental health, connection, nature, engagement
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.