Nurtured in Nature: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial


Although previous studies have shown that spending time in nature is associated with numerous physical and mental health benefits, there has not been much investigation into effective ways to nudge people to spend more time outside. To address this as well as a lack of literature concerning nature as a postpartum depression (PPD) prevention strategy, PISC Senior Scholar Eugenia Catarina South, MD, MSPH, and her colleagues developed a program called Nurtured in Nature. This consisted of a 4 week program leveraging a behavioral economics framework, and included a Nature Coach, digital nudges, and personalized goal feedback. The program was then piloted in an randomized controlled trial among postpartum women in Philadelphia, PA, between 9/9/2019 and 3/27/2020. After analysis, the study found that Nurtured in Nature was associated with three times higher nature visits compared to the control, but no significant differences were found in Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale scores. The researchers acknowledges that the study may have been limited by the study's sample size of 36 women, and conclude that more investigation is needed into its potential use as a population health tool.


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