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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Elevating the Role of the Outdoor Environment for Adolescent Wellbeing in Everyday Life

Wales, Mark; Martensson, Fredrika; Hoff, Eva; Jansson, Maerit


In light of concerns about adolescent mental health, there is a need to identify and examine potential pathways to wellbeing in their daily lives. Outdoor environments can offer multiple pathways to wellbeing through opportunities for restoration, physical activity and socialising. However, urbanisation and new lifestyles revolving around the home and the internet are changing young people's access, use and relationship to the outdoor environment. The authors point out how the research related to adolescents' outdoor environments is generally not treated with the same level of importance or as comprehensively as that for younger children. The aim of this paper is to pave the way for research and planning initiatives on everyday outdoor environments promoting the wellbeing of adolescents and the authors suggest ways in which perspectives from developmental psychology might inform the study of adolescents' outdoor environments. The paper concludes by calling for an elevated focus on the role of outdoor environments in adolescents' everyday lives as a source of wellbeing and more research that makes clear the specific attributes, activities and experiences related to places outdoors which make adolescents feel good.


public open space (POS); urban planning and design; adolescent development; youth-friendly environments; environmental psychology; salutogenic affordances; independent mobility; ecological systems approach

Published in

Frontiers in Psychology
2022, volume: 13, article number: 774592

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of People and Society
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of People and Society
Hoff, Eva
Lund University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Applied Psychology

Publication Identifiers


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