Is park visitation associated with reduced stress levels?

There is increasing evidence that exposure to natural outdoor environments is associated with lower stress levels, better mood and better academic performance.

Project supervisor(s)

Professor Jenny Veitch and Dr Anne Turner


Melbourne Burwood Campus

We are currently undertaking research on park visitation in urban environments and we are interested in measuring the impact of park visitation on stress levels.  In this project, the PhD student will start by undertaking a systematic review of the literature on the impact of exposure to natural outdoor environments on physiological and psychological stress levels.  The student will then design and conduct one or more experiments among park users.

Within our research team, we have expertise in assessing factors influencing park visitation and in measuring self-report stress, anxiety and depression levels and in physiological and hormonal measures of stress.  Experimental methodologies used in this project may include self-report stress, anxiety and depression questionnaires and/or measurement of heart rate and blood pressure and/or measurement of hair cortisol, cortisol awakening response, diurnal cortisol levels and/or salivary alpha amylase levels.

In broad terms, the aim of this research project will be to determine whether park visitation and the behaviours engaged in during their visit are associated with reduced stress levels.

This project would suit a student from Exercise and Sport Science, Food and Nutrition Sciences, Biological Science, Biomedical Sciences, Science or a related science-based discipline. Interested students must meet Deakin University’s PhD eligibility requirements. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

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