Environment and Social Psychology

Effects of Natural Environments on Human Psychological Well-Being

Submission deadline: 2024-08-31
Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear collegues,

Nature is of crucial importance for human survival and prosperity. It not only provides the resources to survive, but also the psychological nourishment to thrive. Therefore, over the long history of evolution, humans have developed an innate tendency to connect with nature (Baxter & Pelletier, 2019). Research has found that contact with nature is beneficial for humans in many ways, e.g. in recovering from various deficits and increasing psychological well-being in general (for a meta-analysis see McMahan & Estes, 2015).

In recent decades, numerous studies have attempted to better understand the relationship between the environment and mental health (Yang et al., 2022). Here are some examples of research topics:

- Environmental stress and mental health

- Green spaces and well-being

- Environmental design

- Environmental pollution and mental health

Environmental changes (e.g. due to flooding) and environmental pollution have become increasingly important in the social sciences, especially in recent years. Pollution of air, water and soil, for example, can have a negative impact on people’s mental health. Prolonged exposure to pollutants can contribute to the development of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and stress.

The people who are most susceptible to mental disorders due to environmental changes can vary based on a number of factors such as genetics, personal history and socioeconomic situation. However, some groups of people are particularly vulnerable:

- Children and adolescents: Young people may be more sensitive to the effects of the environment on mental health as they are still developing and may be more susceptible to environmental stress.

- People living in social deprivation: People living in social distress, such as poverty or housing insecurity, may be more at risk of developing environmental problems.

- People with pre-existing mental disorders: People with pre-existing mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, may be more susceptible to the negative effects of the environment on their mental health.

- Elderly: Older people, especially those living in social isolation or in unfavourable environmental conditions, may be more susceptible to environmental mental health problems.

Tackling environmental influences on mental health and wellbeing is an urgent challenge. Awareness of this problem drives us to seek effective solutions to preserve our environment and protect the mental health of current and future generations.

This special issue "Effects of the Natural Environment on Human Psychological Well-being" focuses on the current state of knowledge on this topic, on practical implications for health-promoting measures and on interdisciplinary cooperation between institutions to promote preventive measures and interventions in the field of mental health and well-being.

We welcome a variety of contributions such as conceptual and empirical articles, reviews, critical commentaries and meta-analyses to be submitted for this special issue. We accept manuscripts from a variety of disciplines that address topics in the subject area.

Dr. Daniela Acquadro-Maran

Guest Editor


Environmental Effects in Human Being; Mental Health; Wellbeing; Health-promoting; Early Intervention; Community; Preventive Measure; Intervention; Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Published Paper