Skimming Through 11799 Studies for a Minimum Dose of Nature

Ancient advice to students to “get out of the classroom and breath some fresh air” has never been quantified to the satisfaction of people who want to quantify it better. A new study takes a brute-force approach:

Minimum Time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact the Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure It: A Scoping Review,” Genevive R. Meredith, Donald A. Rakow, Erin R. B. Eldermire, Cecelia G. Madsen, Steven P. Shelley, and Naomi A. Sachs [pictured here], Frontiers in Psychology, epub 2020.

The authors, at Cornell University and the University of Maryland, explain what they intended to do, and how they went about trying to do it:

The aim of this study was to define a ‘dose’ of time in nature that could be prescribed to college-age students, as a preventative and supportive mental health and well-being intervention….

Fourteen bibliographic databases were searched and all results were blindly screened using established inclusion criteria…. Initially, 11,799 titles were identified and once de-duplicated, 10,917 titles were screened. One hundred fifty-five papers were given full text reviews, of which 14 studies were included in this review. In summary, 13 of the 14 papers explicitly noted that the participants were college students.