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Exploring ecological, emotional and social levers of self-rated health for urban gardeners and non-gardeners: A path analysis
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    The social, emotional, and mental health benefits associated with gardening have been well documented. However, the processes underlying the relationship between garden participation and improvements in health status have not been sufficiently studied.


    Using population-based survey data (n = 469 urban residents), objective street environment data, and area-level measures, this research used a path analytic framework to examine several theoretically based constructs as mediators between gardening history and self-reported health.


    The results showed that garden participation influenced health status indirectly through social involvement with one’s community, perceived aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood, and perceived collective efficacy. Gardeners, compared to non-gardeners, reported higher ratings of neighborhood aesthetics and more involvement in social activities, whereas aesthetics and involvement were associated with higher ratings of collective efficacy and neighborhood attachment. Collective efficacy, but not neighborhood attachment, predicted self-rated health. Gardening also directly influenced improved fruit and vegetable intake. The physical and social qualities of garden participation may therefore stimulate a range of interpersonal and social responses that are supportive of positive ratings of health.


    This research suggests that community planners and health professionals should aim to strengthen the social and aesthetic relationships while designing environments and policies as a way to ignite intermediate processes that may lead to improved health status.

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    K01 EH-000066-03/EH/NCEH CDC HHS/United States
    UL1 RR025780/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
    K01 EH000066/EH/NCEH CDC HHS/United States
    UL1RR025780/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
    UL1 TR001082/TR/NCATS NIH HHS/United States
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