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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Wildlife and public perceptions of opportunities for psychological restoration in local natural settings

Johansson, Maria; Hartig, Terry; Frank, Jens; Flykt, Anders

Abstract

Wildlife might be important to psychologically restorative values and disvalues of nature, as interactions with wildlife could trigger both positive and negative feelings. Research on positive experiences of human-wildlife interactions has largely involved participants who voluntarily sought out wildlife experiences or it has addressed encounters with non-threatening animals in urban green spaces. Less is known about the opportunities for psychological restoration in landscapes shared with mammals that are perceived to pose a threat to human activities and health. This study provides a nuanced understanding of the role of wildlife in public perceptions of the restorative potential and experience of psychological restoration in local natural settings. Twenty-eight participants (15 women, 13 men, 18-75 years) took part in focus group interviews subject to a reflexive thematic analysis. As an analytical framework, we used a theoretical model for how people appraise the relevance, implications, coping potential and norm congruence of human-wildlife interactions and how such appraisals may support or hinder the restoration experienced in local natural settings. Relevance appraisals revealed shifts in consideration of the presence of wildlife from an integrated part of the natural scenery (background) to a distinct figure (foreground). Implication appraisals revealed that wildlife encounters would hinder the experienced psychological restoration if the animal was appraised as dangerous, disgusting, causing a nuisance or destructive. Wildlife encounters would promote restoration if the animal displayed attractive traits, features or fascinating behaviour or movements, and if it opened engaging interaction situations. Coping strategies perceived as feasible to deal with negative implications of wildlife involved avoidance of the local natural setting, preparatory behaviour displayed before a visit and precautionary behaviour displayed during the visit. Important public health effects might be gained if wildlife policy and management explicitly consider what animals mean to the perceived restorative potential of local natural settings.Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.Forekomst av vilt levande djur kan ha betydelse for manniskors mojlighet till mental aterhamtning i naturen eftersom djurlivet kan ge upphov till bade positiva och negativa kanslor. Tidigare forskning om positiva upplevelser av vilt har foretradesvis handlat om situationer dar manniskor medvetet har sokt sig till en plats for att se djur, fokuserat djurarter som vanligtvis inte betraktas som farliga for manniskor, eller varit begransade till smavilt i urbana gronomraden. Daremot saknas kunskap om mojligheter till mental aterhamtning i naturomraden med storre daggdjur som ocksa kan upplevas utgora ett hot mot manniskors aktiviteter och halsa. Den har studien bidrar till en nyanserad forstaelse av viltets betydelse for allmanhetens upplevda mojligheter till mental aterhamtning i lokala naturomraden. Vi intervjuade 28 deltagare (15 kvinnor, 13 man, 18-75 ar) i fokusgrupper. Intervjuerna analyserades med sk reflexiv tematisk analys. I analyserna utgick vi ifran en teoretisk modell for manniskors bedomning av relevans och konsekvenser av interaktioner mellan manniska och vilt samt tillgang till strategier for att hantera sadana interaktioner och samstammighet med normer i dessa situationer. Modellen beskriver ocksa hur bedomningar kan stodja eller hindra upplevelsen av mental aterhamtning. Deltagarnas bedomning av viltets relevans for mental aterhamtning varierade avseende om djuren betraktades som en integrerad eller en unik framtradande del av naturlandskapet. Bedomningen av konsekvenser visade att moten med vilt levande djur upplevdes hindra den mentala aterhamtningen om djuret ansags vara farligt eller ackligt, orsaka olagenhet eller forstora for manniskor. Moten med vilt upplevdes stodja aterhamtning om djuret ansags ha ett attraktivt utseende eller positiva egenskaper, fascinerande beteenden eller rorelsemonster, eller om djuret skapade sarskilt engagerande situationer. De strategier som deltagarna bedomde som mojliga och tillgangliga for att hantera negativa konsekvenser av vilt var undvikande av lokala naturomraden, forberedelser som vidtogs innan ett eventuellt besok i naturomradet och forsiktighetsatgarder under tiden deltagarna vistades i naturomradet. Det kan finnas positiva effekter for folkhalsan om viltpolicy och forvaltning explicit beaktar betydelsen av vilt for manniskors upplevda mojlighet till mental aterhamtning i lokala naturomraden.Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.

Keywords

coping; emotional appraisal; mental well-being; reflexive thematic analysis; wildlife

Published in

People and Nature
2024, Volume: 6, number: 2, pages: 800-817 Publisher: WILEY

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Ecology
    Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10616

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/128610