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Eunhee Kim and Richard H. Mattson

Psychophysiological responses to geranium visual stimuli were analyzed on female college students with low attentiveness. Alpha and fast-beta brain wave activities, electrodermal activities, and skin temperature were measured continuously during a 5-min baseline, a 10-min induced stressor, and a 5-min treatment. Each of 75 female college students viewed a film of a stressful human situation—an induced stressor, then was exposed to a randomly assigned treatment: red-flowering geraniums, nonflowering geraniums, or no plants. Based on responses to the induced stressor, students were placed into non-, mild-, and high-induced stress groups. Regression models of psychophysiological responses to each treatment were developed for over-all stress levels. Non-induced stress female students exposed to red-flowering geraniums in contrast to nonflowering geraniums and no-plants showed greater fast-beta brain wave activity. Greater fast-beta of non-induced stress female students exposed red-flowering geraniums was associated with increased positive attention and not because of increased stressful tension. This conclusion was supported by more positive emotional states self-reported using the Zuckerman Inventory of Personal Reactions. Conclusive findings from over-all stress levels suggest that benefits of viewing red-flowering geraniums occur to both nonstress and high stress female college students; red-flowering geraniums improve positive attention of female students with no stress (low attentiveness) and enhance stress recovery of female students with high stress (tension).

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Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson

Using various medical and psychological measurements, this study performed a randomized clinical trial with surgical patients to evaluate if plants in hospital rooms have therapeutic influences. Ninety patients recovering from an appendectomy were randomly assigned to hospital rooms with or without plants. Patients in the plant treatment room viewed eight species of foliage and flowering plants during their postoperative recovery periods. Data collected for each patient included length of hospitalization, analgesics used for postoperative pain control, vital signs, ratings of pain intensity, pain distress, anxiety, and fatigue, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y-1, the Environmental Assessment Scale, and the Patient's Room Satisfaction Questionnaire. Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics, more positive physiological responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group. Findings of this research suggested that plants in a hospital environment could be noninvasive, inexpensive, and an effective complementary medicine for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.

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Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson

Medical and psychological measurements of surgical patients were tested to determine the influence of plants and flowers within hospital rooms. Eighty female patients recovering from a thyroidectomy were randomly assigned to either control or plant rooms. Patients in the plant room viewed 12 foliage and flowering plants during their postoperative recovery periods. Data collected for each patient included length of hospitalization, analgesics used for postoperative pain control, vital signs, ratings of pain intensity, pain distress, anxiety and fatigue, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y-1, the Environmental Assessment Scale, and the Patient's Room Satisfaction Questionnaire. Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly shorter hospitalizations, fewer intakes of analgesics, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group. Findings of this research suggest the therapeutic value of plants in the hospital environment as an effective complementary medicine for surgical patients.

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Richard H. Mattson*, Eunhee Kim, Gary E. Marlowe and Jimmy D. Nicholson

At the Lamar County Adult Probation Program in Paris, Texas, a three-year study (Spring 2001-Fall 2003) involving 376 probationers was conducted to investigate the rehabilitative effects on probationers of a horticulture vocational training program. Data were collected on 189 adults who were randomly assigned to a horticulture group doing greenhouse plant production and vegetable gardening activities. The horticulture group was compared with 187 adults who were in a non-horticulture community service group doing trash clean-up and janitorial work. Within the horticulture group, significant improvement occurred in horticultural knowledge (KSU General and Specific Horticulture Exams), self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), and environmental awareness (Environmental Response Inventory). These changes did not occur within the non-horticulture community service group. Future research will examine recidivism rates and vocational placements of probationers from both groups.