A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

More Green, Happier Teen?

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, about 30 percent of teens report being depressed or sad as a result of stress. But spending more time in green spaces may be an easy way to help some kids relax.

School, friends, social media—teens today have a lot to be stressed about. Researchers at Temple University and the University of Tennessee wanted to know how to help teenagers de-stress. They studied 179 urban-area teens for two years. The participants were given cell phones equipped with GPS. On certain days, these teens got text messages with questions about their stress levels. At the same time, the cell phone recorded their locations on a map. Results showed that teens who spent more time in natural green spaces had lower stress levels, but only if they were away from green spaces near home.

The findings suggest that giving teens the opportunity to spend time in natural areas that are not near their home could mean less stress. Too much stress can lead to depression, poor sleep, obesity, and even substance abuse. So incorporate more green if you want a happier teen.

Interestingly, the season in which teens spent time in nature didn’t affect the results of the study. So being in a green space even during the fall and winter months was still associated with less stress.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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