James W. Zampini
Claudia C. Collins and Angela M. O'Callaghan
older adults is not new and has been researched by social scientists as well as horticulturists. In the 1970s, two Yale psychologists examined the value of people-plant interactions in a Connecticut nursing home ( Langer and Rodin, 1976 ). They found
Plants and horticulture play an integral role in the cultural heritage of eastern societies. Plants are deemed as important in many ways besides being a source of food and shelter. The present study summarizes information on research and trends in the value and application of horticulture collected from professionals in Asian countries, focusing on the work in human-horticulture relationships in Korea and Japan.
Tom Barnicle and Karen Stoelzle Midden
This study investigated the effects of indoor horticulture activities on the current psychological well-being of older people in two long-term care facilities over a 7-week period. Thirty-one participants at one facility served as the control group. Thirty-one participants at another facility served as the horticulture group. Participants in both facilities continued with their normal daily routine and activities over the 7-week period; however, the horticulture group participated in a 1-hour horticulture activity session once a week over the 7-week period and the control group did not. The control group and horticulture group did not differ significantly in psychological well-being prior to the start of the study. After the 7-week program, the horticulture group had a significant increase in psychological well-being, whereas the control group had a slight decrease in psychological well-being. The results of this study indicate that horticulture activities may have a beneficial effect on the current psychological well-being of older people in a long-term care facility.
Megan Holmes and Tina M. Waliczek
The average cost of housing a single inmate in the United States is roughly $31,286 per year, bringing the total average cost states spend on corrections to more than $50 billion per year. Statistics show 1 in every 34 adults in the United States is under some form of correctional supervision; and after 3 years, more than 4 in 10 prisoners return to custody. The purpose of this study was to determine the availability of opportunities for horticultural community service and whether there were differences in incidences of recurrences of offenses/recidivism of offenders completing community service in horticultural vs. nonhorticultural settings. Data were collected through obtaining offender profile probation revocation reports, agency records, and community service supervision reports for one county in Texas. The sample included both violent and nonviolent and misdemeanor and felony offenders. Offenders who completed their community service in horticultural or nonhorticultural outdoor environments showed lower rates of recidivism compared with offenders who completed their community service in nonhorticultural indoor environments and those who had no community service. Demographic comparisons found no difference in incidence of recidivism in comparisons of offenders based on gender, age, and the environment in which community service was served. In addition, no difference was shown in incidence of recidivism in comparisons based on offenders with misdemeanor vs. felony charges. The results and information gathered support the continued notion that horticultural activities can play an important role in influencing an offender’s successful reentry into society.
Ruth Kjærsti Raanaas, Grete Grindal Patil and Terry Hartig
Effects of an indoor plant intervention in a Norwegian rehabilitation center were assessed in a quasi-experiment. During a 2-year period, coronary and pulmonary patients (N = 282) completed self-report measures of health, subjective well-being, and emotion on arrival, after 2 weeks, and at the end of a 4-week program. The intervention involved the addition of indoor plants for the second year. On average, patient physical and mental health improved during the program, but the addition of plants did not increase the degree of improvement. Subjective well-being did, however, increase more in patients who went through their program after the addition of plants, although the effect was only apparent in the pulmonary patients. The patients reported more satisfaction with indoor plants and the interior generally after the intervention. Room for the intervention to affect outcomes may have been limited by the well-designed interior and the center's location in a scenic mountain area, but these favorable features of the context apparently did not negate the potential for indoor plants to contribute to patient well-being.
Plants are widely used in building environments; however, studies reporting the health and discomfort symptoms of people in response to indoor foliage plants are few. The objective of the presented studies was to assess the effect of foliage plants or a combination of foliage plants and full-spectrum fluorescent lamps on self-reported health and discomfort complaints in three different work environments: an office building, an X-ray department in a Norwegian hospital, and a junior high school. Health and discomfort symptoms were found to be 21% to 25% lower during the period when subjects had plants or plants and full-spectrum lighting present compared to a period without plants. Neuropsychological symptoms, such as fatigue and headache, and mucous membrane symptoms, such as dry and hoarse throat, seemed to be more affected by the treatments than skin symptoms, such as itching skin.
Virginia I. Lohr and Caroline H. Pearson-Mims
A well-known research report showed that being in a hospital room with a view of trees rather than a view of a building was linked to the use of fewer pain-reducing medications by patients recovering from surgery. The experiment reported here was designed to further examine the role of plants in pain perception. We found that more subjects were willing to keep a hand submerged in ice water for 5 min if they were in a room with plants present than if they were in a room without plants. This was found to be true even when the room without plants had other colorful objects that might help the subject focus on something other than the discomfort. Results from a room assessment survey confirmed that the room with colorful, nonplant objects was as interesting and colorful as the room with plants present, but the presence of plants was perceived as making the air in the room fresher.
Caroline H. Pearson-Mims and Virginia I. Lohr
Interiorscaping has been prevalent in office environments in the United States since the 1960s. Historically, proponents of interior plantings have cited numerous benefits, including improved employee morale, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism when plants are added to the workplace, despite little scientific research to support these claims. Contemporary research is beginning to document some of these purported benefits of interior plantings on human comfort, well-being, and productivity. If researchers continue to provide concrete evidence that interaction with plants is directly linked to improved human health and well-being, this information will provide further justification for the use of interior plants in a variety of indoor work settings. With an ever-increasing emphasis by business managers on minimizing costs, it is important for industry professionals to provide quantifiable justification for the inclusion of plants in modern work environments.