The relationship between urban greenspace perception and use within the adolescent population: A focused ethnography

Journal of Advanced Nursing(2023)

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Greenspace is beneficial for improving adolescent mental health, yet healthcare professionals still do not understand the connection between the built environment and subjective mental well-being. We also need to understand how this population uses greenspace and how they feel when in it.The aim of this qualitative study was threefold: to understand why adolescents use greenspace, to identify how they use greenspace and to explore how they feel when they are in greenspace.Focused ethnography.Data were collected between June 2022 and August 2022 using participant observation, photo elicitation and semi-structured interviews. Braun and Clarke's (2006) six phases of thematic analysis were used to guide data collection and analysis.A total of 11 adolescents between ages 12 and 18 who resided in and around Newark, NJ, were recruited. Three themes were identified from the data: (1) A tranquil space in an unsafe place; (2) Park means family connection with burgeoning independence; and (3) My park: Sense of ownership and responsibility.This study deepens the understanding between subjective mental well-being and urban greenspace exposure. Adolescents accepted responsibility for maintaining "my park", which strengthens community cohesion, detailing the importance of youth input during urban planning.Implications from this study suggest that environmental interventions may help ameliorate an ongoing mental health care crisis among adolescents. Healthcare providers should consider the built environment as another approach to promoting mental health.None other than research participants.
urban greenspace perception,focused ethnography,adolescent population
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