Environmental influences on psychological restoration processes

This running project encompasses a variety of activities, internally funded through salary support for Terry Hartig. In general, this work concerns the ways in which the sociophysical environment supports psychologically restorative processes. To date, the research has involved collaborations with researchers in several countries in addition to Sweden, including Australia, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Iran, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA, among others. Some of these collaborative efforts overlap in their concerns with research described under other projects here. Some of the collaborations are ongoing.

A distinctive feature of these studies is guiding theory about how aspects of the environment in diverse contexts (recreational, residential, institutional, occupational) promote (and not merely permit) stress reduction, attention restoration, and other processes in which people renew personal and social resources that they have depleted while trying to meet the demands of everyday life. Completed studies have addressed questions about the design of settings for restoration considered at multiple spatial and temporal scales, from the contents of window views in apartments to architectural complexity seen in residential streetscapes to the amount of green space in the area around the residence to the amount of time made available for annual vacations through national legislation.

The studies done to date have applied diverse methodological approaches, from registration of responses to environmental manipulations in laboratory and on-line settings to large epidemiological studies looking at individual health outcomes to time series analyses looking at variation over time in health outcomes like anti-depressant use.

This project also encompasses the many symposia that since 1998 have regularly been convened at conferences of the International Association for Applied Psychology and the International Association for People-Environment Studies. Within the latter organization, the Restorative Environments Network was co-founded by Terry Hartig in 2007.

Select publications:

Williams, K.J.H., Lee, K.E., Hartig, T., Sargent, L.D., Williams, N.S., Johnson, K.A. (2018). Conceptualising creativity benefits of nature experience: Attention restoration and mind wandering as complementary processes. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 59, 36-45.

Dzhambov, A.M., Markevych, I., Hartig, T., Tilov, B., Arabadzhiev, Z., Stoyanov, D., Gatseva, P., Dimitrova, D. (2018). Multiple pathways link urban green- and bluespace to mental health in young adults. Environmental Research, 166, 223-233.

Korpela, K.M., Pasanen, T.P., Repo, V., Hartig, T., Staats, H., Mason, M., Alves, S., Fornara, F., Marks, T., Saini, S., Scopelliti, M., Soares, A.L., Stigsdotter, U.K., Thompson, C.W. (2018). Environmental strategies of affect regulation and their associations with subjective well-being. Frontiers in Psychology (Environmental Psychology Section), 9, article 562.

Hartig, T. (2017). Restorative environments. Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Oxford: Elsevier.

Von Lindern, E., Lymeus, F., & Hartig, T. (2017). The restorative environment: A complementary concept for salutogenesis studies. In M.B. Mittelmark et al. (Eds.), Handbook of Salutogenesis (pp. 181-195). New York: Springer.

Staats, H., Jahncke, H., Herzog, T.R., & Hartig, T. (2016). Urban options for psychological restoration: Common strategies in everyday situations. PLoS One, 11(1): e0146213.

Hartig, T., Catalano, R., Ong, M., & Syme, S. L. (2013). Vacation, collective restoration, and mental health in a population. Society and Mental Health, 3, 221-236.

Von Lindern, E., Bauer, N., Frick, J., Hunziker, M., & Hartig, T. (2013). Occupational engagement as a constraint on restoration during leisure time in natural environments. Landscape and Urban Planning, 118, 90-97.

Staats, H., van Gemerden, E., & Hartig, T. (2010). Preference for restorative situations: Interactive effects of attentional state, activity-in-environment and social context. Leisure Sciences, 32, 401-417.

Hartig, T., Catalano, R., & Ong, M. (2007). Cold summer weather, constrained restoration, and the use of anti-depressants in Sweden. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27, 107-116.

Hunziker, M., Buchecker, M., & Hartig, T. (2007). Space and place – two aspects of the human-landscape relationship. In F. Kienast, S. Ghosh, & O. Wildi (Eds.), A changing world: Challenges for landscape research (pp. 47-62). Dordrecht: Springer.

Hartig, T., & Staats, H. (2006). The need for psychological restoration as a determinant of environmental preferences. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 26, 215-226.

Hartig, T., & Staats, H. (2003). Guest editors’ introduction [special issue on restorative environments]. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23(2), 103-107. 

Hartig, T. (2001). Guest editor’s introduction [special issue on restorative environments]. Environment & Behavior, 33(4), 475-479.