Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Prospective associations between greenspace and mental health

Evidence suggests that exposure to greenspace (e.g. parks) may be beneficial to physical and mental health. Within residential neighbourhoods, greenspace is associated with favourable mental health and low levels of stress. However, there is a lack of longitudinal studies of greenspace and mental health. Most studies to date are cross-sectional so causality cannot be inferred. In addition, few studies have examined objective measures AND perceptions of greenspace and parkland in local neighbourhoods in relation to mental health.

The aim of this study is to examine how objective measures and perceptions of greenspace/parks in local neighbourhoods are related to changes in mental health and wellbeing among middle-to-older aged adults. This study shall focus on middle to older aged adults who may have more discretionary time to spend in local parks as they grow older. However, evidence suggests that greenspace and parkland are under-utilised by older adults, in particular, who may be missing opportunities to enhance/maintain their mental health status. Data will be drawn from the multilevel longitudinal study (2007-18) titled ‘How Areas in Brisbane Influence health And acTivity (HABITAT)’. Participants were residents of greater Brisbane and were aged 40-65 years at baseline (2007). HABITAT investigates change in participants’ health, physical activity and sedentary behaviour over the study period and how these are impacted by built- and social environmental variables, sociodemographic and psychological variables. We shall study prospective associations between greenspace and mental health among those who remain in the same neighbourhood for the duration of the study, and also among those who relocate to other Brisbane neighbourhoods.


Dr Alison Carver, ACU
Professor Takemi Sugiyama, ACU
Dr Jerome Rachele, University of Melbourne
Distinguished Professor Billie-Giles Corti, RMIT University
Dr Nicola Burton, University of Queensland
Professor Wendy Brown, University of Queensland
Professor Gavin Turrell, Queensland University of Technology