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Health Promot Int. 2010 Jun;25(2):200-9. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daq007. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Favorite green, waterside and urban environments, restorative experiences and perceived health in Finland.

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Department of Psychology, FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.


The study investigated restorative experiences in relation to respondents' everyday favorite places and analysed the associations between the use of favorite places, restorative experiences, their determinants and aspects of self-rated health. A simple random sample of 1273 inhabitants, aged between 15 and 75 years, of two major cities in Finland (Helsinki and Tampere) completed a postal questionnaire. A subsample of the answers from inhabitants with a self-reported distance from home to a favorite place of 15 km or less (n = 1089) was analysed. Restorative experiences in favorite exercise and activity outdoor areas, waterside environments and extensively managed natural settings (mainly urban woodlands) were stronger than in favorite places in built urban settings or green spaces in urban settings (mostly parks). The results revealed a link between the need for restoration (worries and stress), the use of environmental self-regulation strategies (favorite places) and restorative outcomes. The more worries about money and work (during the last month) a person had, the more stressed a person had felt during the last year, the less energetic s/he had felt, the lower was the number of visits to the favorite place (during the last 6 months) and the lower the typical level of restorative experiences. Inconsistently, the direct path suggested that the more worries about money and work, the higher the typical level of restorative experiences. The findings increase knowledge of health-enhancing environments and have implications for stress and work recovery research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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