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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

The quality of Swedish adolescents' outdoor life and its relationship with self-esteem and well-being

Wales, Mark; Hoff, Eva; Martensson, Fredrika; Englund, Jan-Eric

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between outdoor life and the well-being and self-esteem of Swedish adolescents aged 12-15 years old (n = 320), residing in three different living environments in the south of Sweden. The study employed a questionnaire that was administered twice during a school year that included questions on time spent outdoors, environmental quality and the perceived benefit of the outdoor environment. Additionally, the study used standardized scales to measure life satisfaction, self-esteem and mental health. The results of the study revealed that adolescents who had more positive perceptions of their outdoor environment and being outdoors reported higher life satisfaction and self-esteem, as well as better mental health. Notably, girls' generally perceived their outdoor environments as lower quality compared to boys across different seasons. Furthermore, variations between living environments and seasons were also observed. Overall, the study underscores the importance of promoting outdoor life and highlights specific areas planners should address to create outdoor environments with possible benefits for the well-being of adolescents of different ages, sexes and living in different communities.

Keywords

Youth; Mental health; Outdoor environment; Public space; Neighbourhood; Planning

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning
2024, Volume: 246, article number: 105023Publisher: ELSEVIER