The outdoor nature, indoors: relationship between contact with nature, life satisfaction and affect during a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown

Inês Almeida, Carla Lopes, Rita Pedroso, Rui Gaspar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led to national lockdown measures, implying confinement of individuals to their households. This constrained individual’s active contact with outdoor nature, and may have had potential mental health consequences. Hence, this study examined the relationship between contact with nature, life satisfaction and affect during a nationwide lockdown in Portugal in 2020. A cross-sectional correlational design study was carried out with 310 participants, who were administered a questionnaire including self-reported measures of variety and intensity of indoor/outdoor activities involving contact with nature, positive and negative affect, and satisfaction with life. Results showed a positive yet weak association between indoor activity intensity and positive affect, and between reported mental recreation of contact with nature and negative affect. Indoor nature contact was found to have a positive association with life satisfaction and positive affect. Individuals without variety of contact with indoor nature reported lower life satisfaction than those with variety of contacts. Overall, contact with nature seemed important for well-being during a lockdown , especially when engaging with indoor nature, which may have partially contributed to maintaining people’s well-being. During prolonged household confinement periods, measures to promote mental health and wellbeing through outdoor/indoor contact with nature, could thus be considered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsyecology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Contact with nature
  • Lockdown
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • COVID-19
  • Coping

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