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Effect of exposure to nature on subsequent stress, as moderated by personality and connectedness to nature

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Title: Effect of exposure to nature on subsequent stress, as moderated by personality and connectedness to nature
Author: Crawford, Maxine
Degree: Master of Arts - MA
Program: Psychology
Copyright Date: 2012
Issue Date: 2012-09-25
Publisher University of British Columbia
Abstract: Experiences with nature can help us cope with the impact of stress. Research indicates that exposure to nature following a stressful event can reduce the stress evoked by that event (e.g., exposure to nature reduces autonomic arousal, stress, and stress-related health complaints). However, research has largely ignored the possibility that exposure to nature may prevent or reduce the effects of a subsequent stressor. Moderated multiple regression was used to assess whether personality and connectedness to nature moderate the inoculative effects of virtual nature and urban exposure on subsequent emotional stress. In a controlled laboratory environment, undergraduates completed self-report measures and took their own heart rate and blood pressure before and after watching one of three videos, and also before and after viewing emotionally negative pictures. Individuals high in neuroticism had a significant reduction in positive affect when exposed to virtual urban videos, and individuals high in openness had a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure when exposed to a virtual nature video. No significant findings were found for agreeableness, conscientiousness, connectedness to nature, heart rate, or systolic blood pressure; although systolic blood pressure statistics approached significance and had congruent findings with diastolic blood pressure. Significant findings were found for the personality traits of openness and neuroticism. The findings suggest that exposure to virtual nature may have inoculative benefits to subsequent stress, but future research on duration of exposure, exposure to real nature, and exposure to various stressors is necessary to define under what circumstances inoculative effects take place. Implications of this research could impact education and health policy by promoting increased exposure to real and virtual nature.
Affiliation: Arts, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43269
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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