Psychological and Physiological Effects in Satoyama Activities of Older Adult Volunteers in the Urban Green Space in Spring and Autumn

Author(s): Qiongying Xiang, Zhengwei Yuan and Yingming Mao

In the context of high urbanization, developed countries are facing the social phenomenon of severe aging. In Japan, several studies have highlighted the subjective significance of Satoyama activities for volunteers in terms of gaining a sense of meaning and mental health recovery in Satoyama. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the impact of Satoyama activities on both physical and mental health, particularly under different seasons. Therefore, this study aims to explore the physiological and psychological restorative effects of forest therapy on older adult volunteers (n=12) in Satoyama, using young students (n=12) in the city as a control group. Participants engaged in Satoyama activities, including a ten-minute "Nature Observation" walk through the forest and a thirty-minute "Satoyama Work" after arriving at the Satoyama site. The blood pressure and heart rate indicators of participants were collected as physiological data, while the Profile of Mood States 2nd edition and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scales were used as psychological data. Landscape Image Sketch technology and text mining were utilized to analyze the participants' impressions of Satoyama. Our results indicate that the physical recovery of older adult volunteers was better in spring than in autumn, while the psychological recovery was more prominent in autumn than in spring. The peaceful mood and construction of Satoyama by older adult volunteers were observed in the Landscape Image Sketch Technique of Satoyama. In conclusion, this study sheds light on the potential of Satoyama to promote physical and mental health among older adult volunteers, with the consideration of seasonal variations being an essential aspect.

© 2016-2024, Copyrights Fortune Journals. All Rights Reserved