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2017 Conference

Abstract Number: 337 | ID: 2017-337

Association of Neighborhood Green Space with Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Older Adults

Vivian C Pun(Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, United States, vivianpun09@gmail.com), Justin Manjourides(Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, United States), Helen Suh(Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, United States)
Background/Aim: Mental health disorders are the third leading cause of global disease burden worldwide. Despite that a role of neighborhood green space in the pathogenesis of mental disorders has been suggested, current epidemiologic evidence on such association remain conflicting.
Methods: We examined the association of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of surrounding green space, with depressive and anxiety symptoms in community-dwelling adults (aged ≥ 57) of the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a nationally representative, longitudinal sample of older adults in the United States. Current symptoms of depression and anxiety were evaluated using standardized questionnaires, with cases identified by dichotomizing questionnaire scores using well-established cutoffs. We restricted our analysis to 722 participants whose residence was within 1.25km radius from the NDVI sample point, and assessed the association of NDVI (categorized into tertiles) and mood disorders using generalized linear mixed models, with adjustment of confounders (e.g., socioeconomic status), and to explore effect modification.
Results: In models adjusted for age, gender, race, calendar year, season, day of week, region and individual- and neighborhood-level socioeconomic status, participants living in the most green neighborhood had 57% lower odds of adverse depressive symptoms (95%CI: 0.17, 0.67), and 78% lower odds of adverse anxiety symptoms (95%CI: 0.11, 0.43), compared with those living in the least green neighborhood. Most association remains robust upon adjustment of nitrogen dioxide and other covariates. The association with depression was stronger among individuals who were younger, more educated, had hypertension, and lived in an affluent and least urban neighborhood, whereas the association with anxiety was stronger among men, those who were more educated, had higher BMI scores, and lived in an affluent neighborhood.
Conclusions: NDVI was associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms, suggesting that green space may be a newly identified environmental buffer for mental health.