The Effect of Nature Exposure Duration on Positive and Negative Mood
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A growing body of research suggests that having contact with nature impacts positively on mood, emotional wellbeing and stress. A majority of studies have found that nature increases positive and decreases negative mood. This study focused on determining whether time duration influences the strength of the relationship between nature and mood. We expected that longer nature exposure would increase positive and decrease negative mood, with a stronger effect on positive mood. In total, 51 participants (Mage = 21.95, SDage = 1.99) took part in this study; 17 had a 10-minute walk, 34 had a 25-minute walk. Mood was measured using the PANAS, given to participants once before and once after the nature walk. Weather was included as a confounder variable. Using a 2 (pre- versus post-PANAS score) x 2 (positive versus negative mood) between-subjects design, a repeated measures MANOVA was carried out. The results showed that positive mood increased after walking in nature while negative mood decreased. No significant moderation effect of exposure duration was found. A 10-minute walk in nature was as effective on mood as a 25-minute walk. Weather did not confound the relationship between nature exposure and mood. This study extends other research measuring the restorative effects of nature on mood, which is important for individuals’ emotional wellbeing. Due to the clear positive impacts on mood, the results suggest that individuals ought to be encouraged to spend time in nature for at least 10 minutes in order to heighten positive and lessen negative mood.