A narrative and systematic review of the behavioural, cognitive and emotional effects of passive nature exposure on young people: Evidence for prescribing change
Michael Norwood, Ali Lakhani, Simone Fullagar, Annick Maujean, Martin Downese, Jason Byrneg, Anna Stewart, Bonnie Barber, Elizabeth Kendall
Health care providers are increasingly prescribing nature exposure to treat emotional, behavioural and cognitive difficulties of children who experience challenging personal and social circumstances. Correlational studies suggest these prescriptions have short-term potential. The capacity for nature exposure to promote long-term change is unclear. This paper presents the results of a systematic review exploring the ability of the natural environment to promote behavioural, cognitive or emotional change in young people. A systematic review of CINAHL, Medline, Scopus, Embase, PsychInfo produced 59,221 papers. Six met the review criteria. Synthesis suggested that passive nature exposure promotes positive changes in attention, memory and mood; little is known about behavioural changes and long-term outcomes. It is unknown how these changes translate to real world outcomes for children and how the effect of nature varies across different age groups. Overall, prescribing nature exposure for children appears advantageous. Randomised control trials and diverse qualitative methods using reliable outcome measures are needed to draw definitive conclusions.