Degree Granting Department
William P. Sacco
biophilia, cardiovascular recovery, environmental psychophysiology, laboratory stress, restorative environments
Recently, health researchers have become interested in "eco-friendly" or "green" healthcare. One of the current trends in the green healthcare movement involves incorporating natural elements into health care settings to promote the health of patients and healthcare workers. Research based on Restorative Environments Theory (RET) provides insight into the rationale behind incorporating nature into the healthcare setting. RET posits that pleasant natural environments help promote stress recovery by increasing positive affect, decreasing negative affect, and reducing physiological arousal. However, the components of this theory have not been sufficiently tested using a controlled laboratory environment. The purpose of the present study was to provide a more rigorous test of RET than what is currently found in the literature by using a controlled laboratory- based design. Undergraduates from the University of South Florida were randomly assigned to view 1) no images, 2) neutral, non-nature images, 3) pleasant, non-nature images, or 4) pleasant, nature images during recovery from an anger recall task. Overall, the results of the present study did not demonstrate support for RET. There were no group differences in recovery time for any of the physiological variables with the exception of TPR. Those in the pleasant, non-nature condition took longest to recover. Further, there were no group differences in affect ratings with the exception of positive affect, which was higher for those in the no-image control condition. From an evidence-based practice framework, this study suggests that additional empirical support is needed before RET is used as a foundation to justify widespread adoption of nature-based interventions using media presentation to represent the natural environment.
Scholar Commons Citation
White, Kristi Elizabeth, "The Role of Nature in Physiological Recovery from Stress: A Critical Examination of Restorative Environments Theory" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.