The following is excerpted from an online article posted by News-Medical.
In a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers found that adolescents exposed to nature videos exhibited improved stress, affect, mood, relaxation, nature connection, and nature spirituality outcomes. These findings lend support to nature-based interventions (NBIs) as easily accessible preventive measures for mental health conditions, a growing concern in today’s world.
Current estimates indicate that approximately 50% of all mental health disorders originate during adolescence, with their prevalence increasing to 75% by age 24. These findings have prompted scientists to highlight ages 12-24 as the key window for preventing and early intervention against depression.
In the present study, researchers explore NBIs as an alternative therapy that could alleviate mental health disorders through stress and mental fatigue reduction and restore emotional and cognitive functioning.
The study utilized brief six-minute videos to evaluate the impacts of nature walk exposure compared to an urban control in eliciting positive mental health outcomes.
Study participants were recruited through social media, university campus bulletins, and word of mouth. The final sample cohort comprised 75 adolescents between 18-25 years of age. After baseline screening, participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to either the nature video or urban video cohort.
The case-cohort was exposed to an immersive visual and auditory six-minute-long woodland point-of-view (POV) video comprising blue and green spaces, sounds of water, and birdsong. The control cohort was presented with an equally long recording of a London underground train to emulate the urban setting. The control video comprised noisy urban sounds, densely packed commuters, and loud public service announcements.
Stress results in the case-cohort significantly improved compared to the control cohort compared to baseline readings. These results were long-term and improved with every follow-up session.
Relaxation levels similarly improved in cases as compared to controls immediately following video exposure. While there was no statistically significant change from baseline to control exposure, significant improvements in mood were noted in the nature exposure group immediately after the experiment.