Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA; Sandra Schefkind, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Nancy Hock, MS, OTRL, CHT
Background: Interaction with occupation-centered activities, such as gardening, is associated with improved mental health. With limited evidence supporting the effects of short-term nature-based interventions on employees’ emotional states, the purpose of this research was to understand the impact of a one-time, short-term nature-based intervention on the emotional state of employees at an urban office building.
Method: This pretest/posttest design study used a visual analogue emoticon assessment tool, the Interaction with Nature scale, to measure differences in the participants’ emotional states before and after participating in a planting activity. Twenty-two participants engaged in the study. Each participant potted a succulent plant to display in the participant’s workspace.
Results: Quantitative results indicate with statistical significance that the participants were happier (t(21) = 7.1, p = .001; rs (.535), p = .010), calmer (t(21) = 3.4, p = .003; rs (.486), p = .022), and more hopeful (t(21) = 2.9, p = .009; rs (.634), p = .002) after the intervention than before the intervention.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that a short-term, occupation-centered nature intervention can improve emotional state. Nature-based interventions may help to increase social interactions among staff and contribute to making a positive impact on the office workplace social context. Determining how occupation-centered nature interventions can improve emotional status and social relationships is important to consider, along with any potential implications for workforce performance.
Wagenfeld, A. E., Schefkind, S., & Hock, N. (2019). Measuring Emotional Response to a Planting Activity for Staff at an Urban Office Setting: A Pilot Study. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1532