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Title: An exploration of relationships between greenspace, mindfulness, and perseverative thinking in relation to depression
Author: Hurst, A.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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Depression is a rapidly increasing global phenomenon and as such cannot be fully understood without its social contributors (WHO, 2017). While external and relational explanations are sometimes woven into psychological formulations for depression, the potential impact of absolute and relative deprivation and the residential environment remains more within the realm of psycho-ecological research (Hughes, 2017; Orford, 1994). While cognitive styles learned in response to adverse circumstances have been conceptualised as depressogenic thinking (e.g. Segal, Kennedy, Gemar, Hood, Pendersen, & Buis, 2006), psycho-ecological research is beginning to reveal relationships between the development, maintenance, and recurrence of depression and worldwide patterns of adversity, so increasingly, external circumstances may be thought of as depressogenic (e.g. Schwartz & Meyer, 2010). Depressogenic circumstances may include any pervasive external stressor against which humans are relatively powerless, including absolute and relative deprivation (Beshai, Mishra, Meadows, Parmar, & Huang, 2017; Pelzer, Schaffrath & Vernaleken, 2014; Schwartz & Meyer, 2010) and adverse circumstances such as abuse that are predicted by deprivation and inequality (Easton, Kong, Gregas, Shen, & Shafer, 2017; Goff & Tottenham, 2015; Hayashi et al., 2015; Ouellet-Morin et al., 2015; Pereira, Negrão, Soares, & Mesman, 2015; Khalifeh, Hargreaves, Howard, & Birdthistle, 2013). Psychological inequalities are therefore those which adversely affect psychological wellbeing directly and indirectly, such as those which lead to depression. For example, inequalities such as poverty, debt, and unemployment may be conceptualised as personal or family level inequalities, as although they can affect whole neighbourhoods, they are also the direct conditions of an individual or family's life, including the experience of depression (e.g. Pelzer, Schaffrath & Vernaleken, 2014; Richardson, Elliott & Roberts, 2013). Psychological inequalities also occur on an environmental level, wherein the neighbourhood milieu may be adversely affected by inequality on multiple levels, which are often predictive of depression. For example, living in an urban environment with high vehicular burden is predictive of traffic stress, which predicts depression (Song, Gee, Fan, & Takeuchi, 2007). The 'urbanicity effect', where living in densely populated and built urban environments adversely affects psychological wellbeing, has both support and contest in the research literature (Airaksinen et al., 2015). Specifically, the notion of a direct, causal urbanicity effect is contested, while factors such as individual and family level adversity or depressogenic cognitions may either interact with urbanicity, or may fully mediate relationship between urbanicity and depression (Jokela et al., 2015; Kim, 2008; Kovess-Masfety, Lecoutour, & Delavelle, 2005; Paczkowski & Galea, 2010). There is evidence to suggest that a lack of natural features in the residential environment such as areas including plant life (known as greenspace) is one such health and psychological inequality (Lee & Maheshwaran, 2011; White, Alcock, Wheeler, & Depledge, 2013). This may be of increasing importance in the prevention and reduction of depression as the global population urbanises (United Nations, 2007). Interaction with nature has also been demonstrated as beneficial to psychological wellbeing (Maller, Townsend, Pryor, Brown, & St Leger, 2006). Furthermore, restorative health environments have introduced contact with nature to aid recovery (e.g. Maller et al., 2006; Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2003). Measurement of the dose of greenspace in an individual's environment, as well as measurement of their psychological suffering, is heterogeneous. For example, density of trees has negatively predicted prescription rates of antidepressants (Taylor, Wheeler, White, Economou, & Osborne, 2015), while residential proximity to parks has negatively predicted 'depressive symptoms' in adults (Reklaitiene et al., 2014). This provides some evidence of general residential greenspace having a potentially salutogenic impact on psychological wellbeing, although the nature of the relationship(s) between greenspace and depression is not well understood. For example, antidepressant prescription may not directly indicate levels of current depression experienced by a population (Taylor et al., 2015) and parkland may elucidate a different relationship with depressive features to aggregated greenspace (Bos, Wichers, Jeronimus, & van der Meulen, 2016; Reklaitiene et al., 2014).
Supervisor: Eames, Catrin ; Malinowski, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral