Exposure to trees and other greenery has been shown to stave off depression in adults, and a new study finds the same may be true for teenagers.
Researchers looked at more than 9,000 children 12 to 18 and found those who lived in areas with a lot of natural vegetation were less likely to display high levels of depression symptoms. The effect was strongest among middle schoolers, the study team reports in Journal of Adolescent Health.
“Prior research has shown that lower exposure to nature is associated with more negative emotional and behavioral outcomes,” lead author Carla Bezold of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston said.
To see if this is true during teen years, the researchers analyzed data on 9,385 adolescents who began participating in 1999 in a large study of health factors affecting U.S. youth. Participants had mental health assessments and also provided information about substance abuse, environmental safety issues and race in an annual questionnaire.