Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Moira O'Connor

Abstract

The present study aimed to examine whether visual contact with natural imagery would result in reduced levels of anxiety in older people, when compared with the effects of urban imagery. Thirty-three older adults between the ages of 61 and 91 participated in this study. Thirteen of the participants were male and 20 were female. In a partial replication and extension of the work of Ulrich et al. (1991), the participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups - a nature video group. urban video group or control group. All participants initially completed the state form of Spielberger’s (1983) State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Then seven-minutes worth of a nature video (depicting rainforests) or an urban video (depicting cityscapes) was shown to those in the experimental groups. Those in the control group were left in a room containing magazines for a seven-minute period. The state form of the ST Al was then re-administered to all participants. A Kruskal-Wallis test was conducted on the data and indicated that no statistically significant difference existed between post-test ST Al scores for the nature, urban or control group (p > .05). These results are in contrast to those found in the previous literature and suggest that limitations such as the small sample size, nature of the sample and the length of the video recordings may have been at least partly responsible for then insignificance of the results. Because of the potential for this area of research to improve the quality of life and health of older Australians, future research should concentrate on overcoming research limitations and methodological problem. Findings could then be applied for the benefit of older people in a wide range of environments, such as nursing homes, hospices, hospitals and retirement communities.

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