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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 639: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Expanding Roles for Horticulture in Improving Human Well-Being and Life Quality

BENEFITS OF GARDENING TO THE WELL-BEING OF NEW ZEALAND GARDENERS

Authors:   J.L. Kidd, W. Brascamp
Keywords:   horticulture and human health, people-plant interactions, psychological effects of plants, human issues in horticulture, personal traits
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2004.639.12
Abstract:
To date limited research has been conducted regarding the benefits of gardening to human well-being other than the long-term health benefits of the physical exercise involved in gardening. This study aimed to determine the essential personal characteristics, if any, and the necessary conditions that enable adult New Zealand gardeners to reap the non-physical benefits of the gardening experience that may contribute to enhanced well-being. Specific focus was on factors that influence people to become involved with gardening, their reasons for gardening, and levels of satisfaction with various gardening activities. Gardeners’ personal characteristics and self-perceived gardening qualities were correlated with intangible (i.e. psychological) benefits. Overall psychological well-being was assessed using the six scales of the Psychological Well-being Index (PWI). Data are derived from 361 responses to a countrywide mail-out survey sent to self-selected “keen” gardeners who responded to media advertising and publicity. Results reinforce findings of an earlier investigation of New Zealand mid-aged women gardeners that gardening serves a wide range of needs and benefits on many levels, including psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual. The data also provide an understanding of the type of persons who engage in gardening and give an overall picture of their motivations for gardening. Finally, the study identifies which factors are apparent indicators for someone to find satisfaction and a sense of well-being from gardening.
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