GREEN SPACE REDUCES AGGRESIVE BEHAVIOUR
The study found that 9-18-year-olds who lived in places with more greenery had significantly less aggressive behaviours than those living in neighborhoods with less greenery
Teenagers living in neighbourhood with more greenery may have less aggressive behaviours, suggests a new study.
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) recently conducted the first longitudinal study to see whether greenery surrounding the home could reduce aggressive behaviours in a group of Southern California adolescents living in urban communities.
The team followed 1287 adolescents, age nine to 18 years. They assessed the adolescents’ aggressive behaviours every two to three years, asking parents if their child physically attacked or threatened others, destroyed things, or exhibited other similar behaviours. The researchers then linked the adolescents’ residential locations to satellite data to measure the levels of greenery in their neighbourhoods.
The study found that nine-18-yearolds who lived in places with more greenery had significantly less aggressive behaviours than those living in neighbourhoods with less greenery. Both short-term (one to six months) and long-term (one to three years) exposure to green space within 1,000 meters surrounding residences were associated with reduced aggressive behaviours. The behavioural benefit of green space equated to approximately two to two-and-a-half years of adolescent maturation. The study also found that factors such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, parents’ educational background, occupation, income level, or marital status, and whether their mother smoked while pregnant or was depressed, did not affect the findings.
Additionally, these benefits existed for both boys and girls of all ages and races/ethnicities, and across populations with different socioeconomic backgrounds and living in communities with different neighbourhood quality. Researcher Diana Younan said that the study provides new evidence that increasing neighbourhood greenery may be an effective alternative intervention strategy for an environmental public health approach that has not been considered yet. Based on the study’s findings, USC investigators estimate that increasing greenery levels commonly seen in urban environments could result in a 12 per cent decrease in clinical cases of aggressive behaviour in California adolescents living in urban areas. This new knowledge may provide a strong reason for further studies to examine if improving greenery in residential neighbourhoods will indeed reduce aggressive behaviours in adolescents. The study will appear in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).
University of Southern California investigators estimate that increasing greenery levels could result in a decrease in clinical cases of aggressive behaviour.