The Connection Between Green Space and Better Behaved Kids
Researchers from the University of Southern California have identified the contribution that nature can play in reducing aggressive behavior in adolescents and teenagers. Reporting in Pacific Standard, Tom Jacobs writes that the study of over 1,200 children between the ages of 9 and 18, from 640 families in Los Angeles found that close proximity of green space to the children's homes resulted in less aggressive behavior.
“We found strong evidence supporting the benefits of neighborhood green space in reducing aggressive behaviors,” the researchers write. “The results of our adjusted analyses suggest a consistent pattern of decreased aggression associated with increasing residential green space within a 1000-meter buffer.”
They found no evidence this impact was limited to wealthier or poorer neighborhoods, and report it still held true after accounting for such factors as traffic density and proximity to freeways.
The study concludes that there is a clear benefit to mental health from interacting with natural environments, whether through providing access to areas for physical activity, reducing an area's ambient noise, or reducing pollution levels.