Research Items (19)
Cultivating healthy workplaces is a critical aspect of comprehensive worksite health promotion. The influence of healthy workplace exposures on employee health outcomes warrants research attention. To date, it is unknown if nature contact in the workplace is related to employee stress and health. This study was designed to examine the effects of nature contact experienced at work on employee stress and health. Office staff at a southeastern university (n = 503, 30% response rate) participated in the cross-sectional study. We used a 16-item workplace environment questionnaire, the Nature Contact Questionnaire, to comprehensively measure, for the first time, nature contact at work. The Perceived Stress Questionnaire and 13 established health and behavioral items assessed the dependent variables, general perceived stress, stress-related health behaviors, and stress-related health outcomes. There was a significant, negative association between nature contact and stress and nature contact and general health complaints. The results indicate that as workday nature contact increased, perceived stress and generalized health complaints decreased. The findings suggest that nature contact is a healthy workplace exposure. Increasing nature contact at work may offer a simple population-based approach to enhance workplace health promotion efforts. Future researchers should test the efficacy of nature-contact workplace stress interventions.
- Feb 2011
Cultivating healthful places is an important public health focus. This paper presents evidence-based recommendations related to nature contact. A multidisciplinary review was conducted in several fields of study and findings were organized into public health recommendations: (1) cultivate grounds for viewing, (2) maintain healing gardens, (3) incorporate wooded parks and green space in communities, (4) advocate for preservation of pristine wilderness, (5) welcome animals indoors, (6) provide a plethora of indoor potted plants within view, (7) light rooms with bright natural light, (8) provide a clear view of nature outside, (9) allow outside air and sounds in, (10) display nature photography and realistic nature art, (11) watch nature on TV or videos, and (12) listen to recorded sounds of nature. The findings should inform public health promoters in the design of healthy places and communities. Future research needs are highlighted.
- Jan 2011
Understanding and promoting healthy workplaces is an important and growing area of interest in occupational health. Nature contact is a central component to the study of and promotion of healthy places. Previous findings suggest that nature contact influences health via stress appraisal process. Currently, there are no known comprehensive valid and reliable measures of nature contact, which presents obstacles to research and worksite health promotion. This study was designed to develop and test an instrument to measure nature contact at work, entitled the Nature Contact Questionnaire (NCQ), 16-item self-reported checklist to measure actual exposure. A sample of 503 (30% response rate) office staff completed the questionnaire. Office staff were sent an email with a link to the electronic survey twice, two weeks apart. Content and construct validity (KMO=0.68), internal consistency (Alpha=0.64), and test-retest reliability (r=0.85, p<0.01) were established. The NCQ is the first known comprehensive, reliable and valid survey to measure nature contact, which allows research to compare forms of nature contact to best inform practice and design of healthy places.
Income is a direct indicator of dietary health and access to food. Proper nutrition is a critical component to achieving good health. However, many children and their families do not consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. This can lead to many health disparities and contribute to the development of chronic disease. Children between the ages of 5 and 18 spend an average of 6 h a day, 180 days a year in school, which provides an opportunity for public health workers, nutritionists, and teachers to assist low-income families with nutritional education and provide access to fruits and vegetables. In-school programs have been proven to positively impact dietary choices in children, but it is unclear how such programs may impact their parents. This review examines literature on school-based nutrition and garden programs and their direct impact on the dietary practices and choices of low-income parents. The review process was conducted through an Internet search for relevant peer-reviewed journal articles on databases such as PubMed, CINAHL, and Medline. Grey literature was not included. Approximately 167 studies were generated from the literature search. After removing duplicates and those that did not meet the inclusion criteria we analysed 17 articles. Analysis of these articles provided few assessments of direct or indirect impact of nutrition and garden programs on low-income parental dietary outcomes or choices. It was discovered that passive communications and direct participation are most often used to foster parent involvement.
- Jul 2018
Nature contact facilitates healthy child development and a disconnect with nature presents potential health risks. This study was designed to test a nature intervention at an elementary school among children. An experimental crossover design was implemented over six weeks; two teachers taught their respective kindergarten classes the daily language arts lesson in either the control (indoor classroom) or nature treatment (outdoor classroom) conditions. Child well-being measures were compared in the two conditions. Teachers’ redirections of child behavior were significantly fewer in the nature condition (t = 2.49, p < 0.05) compared to the control. Also, fewer children were off task in the nature condition on average. There were mixed well-being results; children reported no significance difference in happiness in the two conditions, but teachers reported modest benefit in child well-being in the nature condition. The outdoor classroom is a promising method for increasing nature contact and promoting student well-being.
There is a growing recognition that workplace environments affect employee health. Nature contact exposures in the workplace have been shown to be healthful for employees. This pilot study was designed to test the feasibility and efficacy of a daily outdoor work break (Outdoor Booster Break) compared to a daily indoor break. A census of university office staff was invited to participate (N = 244). Phase 1 focused on feasibility—participants (n = 119) reported that the Outdoor Booster Break was feasible (74%), practical (80%), and worthwhile (83%). During Phase II we used a single-site randomized controlled trial (RCT) to examine the effects of an Outdoor Booster Break—compared with a control indoor work break group—for 4 weeks on employee stress. Perceived stress was measured at pretest and posttest for both conditions. Mean posttest stress scores were lower for both the control group (n = 19) and the treatment group (n = 18). A main effects ANCOVA model controlling for baseline stress revealed posttest stress was lower for the treatment group compared to controls (p = .041). Taking a work break appears to have stress-reducing benefits, but the Outdoor Booster Break reduced stress significantly more than an indoor break. Implications for employers, worksite health promoters, and future research are discussed.
- Jun 2017
Although ultraviolent radiation exposure and skin cancer rates are rising in the US, there is not a consistent national message calling for routine total body skin examinations (TBSE) by a healthcare provider. This pilot study examined TBSE rates among adults at an increased risk for skin cancer (history of sunburn, indoor tanning use, excessive UV exposure, poor sunscreen use). Overall skin cancer prevention behaviors were insufficient among respondents (n=953) and only a quarter of respondents considered at an increased risk for skin cancer reported a TBSE. White, older students with light skin who regularly use sunscreen were significantly more likely to report a TBSE. These findings highlight the need for a national study examining TBSE across the lifespan among high-risk individuals.
This preliminary study assesses the relationship between active transportation, the built environment, and population perceived health in two comparable cities in the Southeastern United States at different stages of improving infrastructure for active commuting. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data from 2006 to 2012 were analyzed for Charlotte, NC, and Jacksonville, FL. The annual difference between the percentage of Charlotte respondents rating physical health as good compared to Jacksonville’s increased at a rate of 13% based on an exponential growth regression model (p = 0.02). Supportive urban and transportation policies aimed at facilitating healthy behaviors are associated with healthier communities.
- Aug 2016
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA. Incidence and mortality rates for cancer have risen steadily and cost the healthcare system over $264 billion annually. Cancer risk can be reduced by restricting alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco, eating a balanced diet, limiting sun exposure, exercising, and seeking routine cancer screenings. The purpose of this study is to examine cancer risk factor knowledge among college students. Researchers surveyed undergraduate and graduate students (n = 758) at a mid-sized public university in the Southeast about their knowledge regarding cancer risk factors including smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, obesity, hypertension, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Participants were mostly able to identify the association between cancers and health risk behaviors that have received widespread media coverage, are somewhat intuitive, or are salient to their life stage such as drinking, tanning, and smoking. Nearly all participants correctly reported exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, and smoking increased risk of developing skin and lung cancer, respectively. Most students correctly identified an increased risk of liver cancer associated with alcohol use but missed head/neck and breast cancer. However, knowledge of less publicized relationships was insufficient. The findings offer encouragement to public health professionals that campaigns have increased awareness of cancer risk. However, there were many relationships that revealed a lack of knowledge, and future campaigns can target lesser-known cancer risk relationships to reduce the personal tragedy and societal burden of cancer.
- Jul 2016
Background. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with melanoma rates increasing. Sunscreen use is an effective way to protect the skin and reduce skin cancer risk. Limited research has been conducted examining the relationship between sunscreen use and other lifestyle factors. Interventions aimed at multiple lifestyle factors have shown promise for prevention and reduced health care costs. Objective. This study explores the relationship between sunscreen use and lifestyle factors associated with mortality and morbidity among young adults. Lifestyle factors examined included physical activity, substance abuse, smoking, sexual behavior, unintentional injury, and mental well-being. Methods. A convenience sample of 747 college students was surveyed about sunscreen use and other health risks. Data were analyzed using SPSS 19. Results. White, female students older than 21 years were more likely to use sunscreen. Texting while driving, low life satisfaction, and binge drinking were associated with inadequate sunscreen use. Limitations. Convenience sampling limits generalizability and surveys are subject to recall, self-report, and self-selection bias. Conclusions. The findings provide the framework to develop multiple risk factor interventions.
- Jan 2016
Background: There is a growing recognition that environmental design impacts health and well-being. Nature contact is a design feature or exposure that is especially important in public health and healthcare. To date, there are limited findings on the impact of nature sounds. Objective: This experimental study was designed to examine the effect of nature sounds on physiological and psychological stress. Methods: Participants were randomized into one of three groups-silence (n = 9), nature sound (n = 17), and classical music (n = 14)-and listened to the assigned sound for 15 min in an office or waiting room-like environment. Pre- and postdata were collected including muscle tension (electromyogram), pulse rate, and self-reported stress. Results: With the exception of pulse rate, there were no statistical differences in baseline or demographics among groups. A paired t-test by group showed a decrease in muscle tension, pulse rate, and self-reported stress in the nature group and no significant differences in the control or the classical music groups. The significant reduction in muscle tension occurred at least by 7 min of listening to the nature sound. Conclusion: This study highlights the potential benefit of even very brief (less than 7 min) exposure to nature sounds. Brief nature sound "booster breaks" are a promising area for future research with important practical implications.
Recycling solid waste is an important primary prevention focus to protect environmental resources and human health. Recycling reduces energy consumption and emissions and the need to harvest raw material, which protects air, water, and land. In the study described in this article, the authors conducted an eight week field study to test the efficacy of an intervention aimed to increase can and bottle recycling on a college campus. Recycling volume was assessed in three campus buildings (two treatments and one control) over eight weeks. The control building had standard outdoor-only recycling. The treatment buildings had standard outdoor recycling plus four weeks with the treatment indoor recycling. Total can and bottle recycling volume increased 65%-250% in the treatment buildings compared to the control building. Recycling significantly increased in both the classroom (t = -2.9, p < .05) and administrative (t = -12.4, p < .001) treatment buildings compared to the control building (t = -.13, p = .91). Results suggest that convenience of receptacles alone, without education or additional promotion, resulted in significantly more recycling. Health promoters should prioritize efforts to make recycling easy and convenient.
- May 2013
- Society for Prevention Research 21nd Annual Meeting 2015
Introduction: There is little research available analyzing suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts and the association with sexual behaviors of middle school students. As risky sexual behaviors increase, so do negative health outcomes including HIV/STDs and unplanned pregnancy. This study examined the relationship between middle school student sexual behaviors and three suicide-related outcomes: thoughts, plans, and attempts. Methods: 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Middle School Survey data were obtained from three large school districts in the south. The district data collections followed CDC protocol including randomization and obtaining at least the 60% response rate required to calculate weighted data. Data were managed using SAS and analyzed using SUDAAN. Frequencies and Chi Squares were tabulated. Multivariate logistic regressions were run to see if suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts are associated with sexual behaviors among students; gender, grade and race were used as covariates. Results: Among students who thought about suicide, significantly more students reported ever having sex compared to their counterparts (35% vs. 19%, p<0.0001). Among students who planned a suicide attempt, one-third reported ever having sex compared to one-in-five students who did not plan a suicide attempt (p<0.0001). Significantly more students who attempted suicide reported ever having sex compared to their counterparts (45% vs. 21%, p<0.0001). Those who responded "yes" to the three suicide questions were significantly more likely to have had sex before age 11 compared to their counterparts: thought about suicide, 10% vs. 5% (p=0.007); planned suicide, 12% vs. 5% (p=0.002); attempted suicide, 17% vs. 5% (p=0.0002). Those who attempted suicide were also more likely to have had 3 or more sex partners compared to their counterparts (14% vs. 8%, p=0.02). Conversely, those who responded "yes" to the three suicide questions were significantly less likely than their counterparts to report using a condom during their last sexual encounter: thought about suicide, 59% vs. 72% (p=0.0002); planned suicide, 55% vs. 72% (p=0.003); attempted suicide, 51% vs. 72% (p=0.0007). Results from multivariate logistic regressions will also be presented. Conclusions: While the majority of middle school youth are not yet sexually active, a substantial group is. Students who report ever thinking about suicide, planning suicide, or attempting suicide are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. These behaviors result in an increased risk of HIV transmission, STD transmission, and unplanned pregnancy. Implications for multiple behavior risk reduction programs will be discussed.
- Mar 2012
Background: The study and promotion of environmental health behaviors, such as recycling, is an emerging focus in public health. Purpose: This study was designed to examine the determinants of recycling intention on a college campus. Methods: Undergraduate students (N=189) completed a 35-item web-based survey past findings and an expanded version of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Path analytic models were examined with bootstrapping method. Results: The path coefficients revealed that all of the direct paths were statistically significant except the direct path from descriptive norm to behavioral intention. The model explained 49.3% of the variance in recycling intention. The strongest predictors of campus recycling intention were moral obligation and behavioral attitudes. Discussion: The expanded version of the TPB proved to be a sound theoretical framework to study the determinants of recycling on campus. Overall, the model components had a large effect on recycling intention. Translation to Health Education Practice: Using behavior change theory to understand recycling behavior is prerequisite to evidenced-based recycling interventions. These findings should be used to guide campus recycling interventions.
- May 2011
Cultivating healthy workplaces is a critical aspect of comprehensive worksite health promotion. The influence of healthy workplace exposures on employee health outcomes warrants research attention. To date, it is unknown if nature contact in the workplace is related to employee stress and health. This study was designed to examine the effects of nature contact experienced at work on employee stress and health.
- Jul 2005
To study the relationships among perceived problem solving, stress, and physical health. The Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ), Personal Problem solving Inventory (PSI), and a stress-related physical health symptoms checklist were used to measure perceived stress, problem solving, and health among undergraduate college students (N = 232). Perceived problem-solving ability predicted self-reported physical health symptoms (R2 = .12; P < .001) and perceived stress (R2 = .19; P < .001). Perceived problem solving was a stronger predictor of physical health and perceived stress than were physical activity, alcohol consumption, or social support. Implications for college health promotion are discussed.