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PLoS One. 2016 May 23;11(5):e0155614. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155614. eCollection 2016.

Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes.

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The School of Public Service and Global Citizenship, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, United States of America.
Department of Management, School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China.
Department of Psychology, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, United States of America.


This study investigated the effects of natural elements and direct and indirect sunlight exposure on employee mental health and work attitudes. We recruited participants via an online panel from the United States and India, and analyzed data from 444 employees. Natural elements and sunlight exposure related positively to job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and negatively to depressed mood and anxiety. Direct sunlight was a dominant predictor of anxiety; indirect sunlight was a dominant predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Natural elements buffered the relationship between role stressors and job satisfaction, depressed mood, and anxiety. We also found that depressed mood partially mediated the relationship between natural elements and job satisfaction. We discuss scientific and policy implications of these findings.

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