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Residential green space is associated with a buffering effect on stress responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in mothers of young children, a prospective study

  • Vos, Stijn;
  • Bijnens, Esmee M;
  • Renaers, Eleni;
  • Croons, Hanne;
  • Van der Stukken, Charlotte;
  • Martens, Dries S;
  • Plusquin, Michelle;
  • Nawrot, Tim S; 34994;
Publication Date
May 15, 2022
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Green spaces are associated with increased well-being and reduced risk of developing psychiatric disorders. In this study, we aimed to investigate how residential proximity to green spaces was associated with stress response buffering during the COVID-19 pandemic in a prospective cohort of young mothers. We collected information on stress in 766 mothers (mean age: 36.6 years) from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort at baseline of the study (from 2010 onwards), and during the COVID-19 pandemic (from December 2020 until May 2021). Self-reported stress responses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were the outcome measure. Green space was quantified in several radiuses around the residence based on high-resolution (1 m2) data. Using ordinal logistic regression, we estimated the odds of better resistance to reported stress, while controlling for age, socio-economic status, stress related to care for children, urbanicity, and household change in income during the pandemic. In sensitivity analyses we corrected for pre-pandemic stress levels, BMI, physical activity, and changes in health-related habits during the pandemic. We found that for an inter-quartile range contrast in residential green space 300 m and 500 m around the residence, participants were respectively 24% (OR = 1.24, 95%CI: 1.03 to 1.51) and 29% (OR = 1.29, 95%CI: 1.04 to 1.60) more likely to be in a more resistant category, independent of the aforementioned factors. These results remained robust after additionally controlling for pre-pandemic stress levels, BMI, physical activity, smoking status, urbanicity, psychological disorders, and changes in health-related habits during the pandemic. This prospective study in young mothers highlights the importance of proximity to green spaces, especially during challenging times. / status: published

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