Girls with views of nature have better chance of success

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - At-risk inner-city girls who see nature through the windows of their homes may have a better chance for success than those girls whose views are not as green, say scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"For the girls, we found that the greener the view that was available from their apartment window, the better they were able to concentrate, refrain from acting impulsively and delay gratification," said Andrea Faber Taylor, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of natural resources and environmental sciences. "The greener views translated into better self-discipline."

The findings, published online in June by the Journal of Environmental Psychology, in advance of the journal's print publication, are based on a study of 169 children, ages 7 to 12, in a large downtown Chicago public housing complex. Boys' scores did not display the same relationship to views of nature from home, possibly because boys tend to spend more time playing away from home than do girls, said co-author Frances E. Kuo, co-director of the Human-Environment Research Lab.

This study is one of several that Kuo and third co-author William C. Sullivan have conducted on the link between nature and healthy human functioning in inner-city Chicago.

"This study grows from previous research that shows the ability to concentrate can be renewed through contact with natural settings," said Kuo, who also is a professor of psychology. "I'm pursuing the possibility that self-discipline draws on the same brain mechanism that concentration does."

The new findings, Taylor said, strengthen arguments that city planners and housing developers should strategically incorporate views and access to nature to enhance the quality of life for residents.

For the new study, the researchers recruited and trained volunteer residents of the mostly African-American

Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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