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A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Nature-Based Mindfulness: Effects of Moving Mindfulness Training into an Outdoor Natural Setting

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  • Dorthe Djernis, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Inger Lerstrup, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • Dorthe Poulsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Ulrika Stigsdottir, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Jesper Dahlgaard
  • Mia Skytte O'Toole

Research has proven that both mindfulness training and exposure to nature have positive health effects. The purpose of this study was to systematically review quantitative studies of mindfulness interventions conducted in nature (nature-based mindfulness), and to analyze the effects through meta-analyses. Electronic searches revealed a total of 25 studies to be included, examining 2990 participants. Three analyses were conducted: Nature-based mindfulness interventions evaluated as open trials (k = 13), nature-based mindfulness compared with groups in non-active control conditions (k = 5), and nature-based mindfulness compared with similar interventions but without contact with nature (k = 7). The overall combined psychological, physiological, and interpersonal effects from pre- to post-intervention were statistically significant and of medium size ( g = 0.54, p < 0.001). Moderation analyses showed that natural environments characterized as forests/wild nature obtained larger numerical effects than environments characterized as gardens/parks, as did informal mindfulness compared with formal mindfulness. The small number of studies included, as well as the heterogeneity and generally low quality of the studies, must be taken into consideration when the results are interpreted. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42017065639.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3202
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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