Date of Award

11-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology; Psychology

Program

Biology

First Advisor/Chairperson

Donna Becker

Abstract

Horticultural intervention in the form of gardening workshops connect participants to nature while they nurture another living organism. Horticultural intervention provides opportunities to socialize and engage in a meaningful activity, which have been recognized as helpful in the treatment of common mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety. There is a lack of experimental studies based on quantitative data that focus on the effects of horticulture on holistic human health. The author evaluated the effects of a horticultural intervention on two separate groups, older adults and college students. The behavioral effects of engaging in gardening activities were evaluated using observational data, attendance records, and surveys collected from older adult residents of a long-term care facility. The biological effects of engaging in horticulture activities were evaluated using physiological data collected from student participants on a college campus. As a result of the horticultural intervention, greenhouse attendance increased at a long-term care facility and feelings of distress, irritability, and nervousness decreased significantly for participants who attended the workshops regularly. Additionally, physiological data collected from college students suggest lowered blood pressure after engaging in gardening activities. This study presents quantitative evidence regarding the positive behavioral and physical effects of gardening on holistic human health.

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