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The contribution of environmental science to mental health research: A scoping review

Michaela, Michaela, Kathryn, Kathryn, Margaret, Margaret, Antonia, Antonia, Li, Kuang-Heng, Lisa, Lisa, Lindsay, Lindsay, Isobel, Isobel, Martin, Martin, Zoe, Zoe, Fisher, Helen, GIDLOW, Christopher, Anjum, Memon, Naylor, Larissa, Reis, Stefan, Smith, Pete, Stansfield, Stephen, Wilkie, Stephanie, Mudway, Ian and Irvine, Katherine (2023) The contribution of environmental science to mental health research: A scoping review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20 (7). p. 5278. ISSN 1660-4601

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Abstract or description

Mental health is influenced by multiple complex and interacting genetic, psychological, social, and environmental factors. As such, developing the state of the art in mental health knowledge requires collaboration across academic disciplines, including environmental science. To assess the current contribution of environmental science to this field, a scoping review of literature on environmental influences on mental health (including conditions of cognitive development and decline) was conducted. The review protocol was developed in consultation with experts working across mental health and environmental science. The scoping review included 202 English-language papers, published between 2010 and 2020, on environmental themes which had not already been the subject of recent systematic reviews, and 26 reviews on climate change, flooding, air pollution and urban green space. Studies largely focused on populations in USA, China, or Europe, and involved limited environmental science input. Environmental science research methods primarily focused on quantitative approaches utilising secondary datasets or field data. Mental health measurement was dominated by the use of self-report psychometric scales. Measures of environmental states or exposures were often lacking in specificity (e.g., limited to presence or absence of an environmental state). Based on the scoping review findings, a research agenda for environmental science’s future contribution to mental health scholarship is set out. This includes recommendations to expand geographical scope and broaden representation of different environmental science areas, improve measurement of environmental exposure, prioritise experimental and longitudinal research designs, and give greater consideration to variation between and within communities and the mediating pathways by which environment influences mental health. There is also considerable opportunity to increase interdisciplinarity within the field via the integration of conceptual models, inclusion of mixed methods and qualitative approaches, as well as further consideration of the socio-political context and the environmental states that can help support good mental health. Findings were used to propose a conceptual model to parse contributions and connections between environmental science and mental health to inform future studies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental wellbeing; cognitive development; cognitive decline; environmental epidemiology; physical environment; chemical environment; biological environment
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Christopher GIDLOW
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2023 15:11
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2023 04:30

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