Eco-Caring Together” Pro-ecological group-based community interventions and mental wellbeing: A systematic scoping review

Kane Baker, Bianca Chioran, Elizabeth Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Poor mental wellbeing is a challenge for societies across the world, as is the increasing threat of climate change, and emerging evidence suggests these challenges are interrelated. Green and social prescribing of non-clinical interventions hold promise as a cost-effective and widely accessible way to improve wellbeing, and interest is growing in whether pro-ecological communal activities have mutual benefits for both people and the planet. Objectives: Communal pro-ecological activities are growing in popularity, and research is gathering pace into whether participation influences mental wellbeing. The present systematic review scopes the existing evidence base to explore what is being done, what is being found, and what additional research is required. Methods: Electronic databases (PsychNET, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science) were searched for studies that involved groups of people undertaking pro-ecological activities, where components of mental wellbeing were assessed. Eligibility criteria were purposely broad, including all study designs and participants across the lifespan. Results: Thirty-seven eligible studies were identified. Nearly half of the studies used mixed-method designs, and most studies used surveys or interviews to evaluate outcomes. Most pro-ecological activities involved planting vegetation, and habitat creation, maintenance, or restoration. Methodological quality varied considerably. Among the perceived therapeutic mechanisms reported, the social elements of the interventions were prominent. Discussion: Coherent synthesis of the current evidence base is challenging given the heterogeneous range of methods, samples, and interventions within the studies. However, the results here demonstrate promise that with future research and better methodological rigor, pro-ecological group-based interventions hold the potential to improve mental wellbeing and influence sustainable behavior. Systematic review registration: https://osf.io/vmpr6/.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1288791
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2024

Data Availability Statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/Supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding authors.

Keywords

  • climate anxiety
  • conservation
  • mental health
  • nature-based interventions
  • pro-environmental behavior (PEB)
  • pro-social behavior
  • social integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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