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. 2008 Sep;47(3):279-83.
doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.01.013. Epub 2008 Jan 26.

Stress-reducing Effects of Indoor Plants in the Built Healthcare Environment: The Mediating Role of Perceived Attractiveness

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Stress-reducing Effects of Indoor Plants in the Built Healthcare Environment: The Mediating Role of Perceived Attractiveness

K Dijkstra et al. Prev Med. .

Abstract

Objective: Natural elements in the built healthcare environment have shown to hold potential stress-reducing properties. In order to shed light on the underlying mechanism of stress-reducing effects of nature, the present study investigates whether the stress-reducing effects of indoor plants occur because such an environment is perceived as being more attractive.

Method: A single-factor between-subjects experimental design (nature: indoor plants vs. no plants) was used in which participants (n=77) were presented with a scenario describing hospitalization with a possible legionella diagnosis. The study was conducted from March to May 2007 in the Netherlands. Subsequently, they were exposed to a photo of a hospital room. In this room were either indoor plants, or there was a painting of an urban environment on the wall. Afterwards, perceived stress and the perceived attractiveness of the hospital room were measured.

Results: Participants exposed to the hospital room with indoor plants reported less stress than those in the control condition. Mediation analysis confirmed that indoor plants in a hospital room reduce feelings of stress through the perceived attractiveness of the room.

Conclusion: This study confirms the stress-reducing properties of natural elements in the built healthcare environment. It also sheds light on the underlying mechanism causing this stress-reduction.

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