The Moderating Role of Neuroticism on the Relationship Between Nature Exposure and Positive Affect
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Low positive affect, high negative affect and stress are common societal problems and have wide ranging negative health impacts. Since nature exposure has been found to be beneficial for psychological weoll-being, we hypothesize that students’ negative and positive affect as well as subjective stress improve after walking through nature for 30 minutes and that neurotic individuals’ psychological well-being benefits less from the nature exposure than low neuroticism individuals’. In this randomized, pre-test, post-test study, neuroticism was assessed with the EPI, categorized in low/high groups; positive affect, negative affect measured with the PANAS and stress perception with the SNRS-11, before and after the nature walk. A t-test was conducted to test whether a difference between baseline affect and stress scores and the corresponding after the walk scores existed; a correlation analysis to measure the associations between the baseline levels of affect, stress and neuroticism and lastly, a multiple regression with moderation analysis was computed to assess whether the relationship between nature exposure and negative and positive affect as well as stress is dependent upon neuroticism, while controlling for weather and gender. In congruence with the expectations, nature exposure improved negative affect and stress, but the more positive mood HNP experienced during the nature walk, the less they benefitted from it in terms of positive affect.