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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Nature-Based Stress Management Course for Individuals at Risk of Adverse Health Effects from Work-Related Stress

Sahlin, Eva; Ahlborg Jr., Gunnar; Vega-Matuszczyk, Josefa; Grahn, Patrik


Sick leave due to stress-related disorders is increasing in Sweden after a period of decrease. To avoid that individuals living under heavy stress develop more severe stress-related disorders, different stress management interventions are offered. Self-assessed health, burnout-scores and well-being are commonly used as outcome measures. Few studies have used sick-leave to compare effects of stress interventions. A new approach is to use nature and garden in a multimodal stress management context. This study aimed to explore effects on burnout, work ability, stress-related health symptoms, and sick leave for 33 women participating in a 12-weeks nature based stress management course and to investigate how the nature/garden activities were experienced. A mixed method approach was used. Measures were taken at course start and three follow-ups. Results showed decreased burnout-scores and long-term sick leaves, and increased work ability; furthermore less stress-related symptoms were reported. Tools and strategies to better handle stress were achieved and were widely at use at all follow-ups. The garden and nature content played an important role for stress relief and for tools and strategies to develop. The results from this study points to beneficial effects of using garden activities and natural environments in a stress management intervention.


nature-based therapy; garden activities; sleep quality; burnout; exhaustion disorder

Published in

International journal of environmental research and public health
2014, volume: 11, number: 6, pages: 6586-6611
Publisher: MDPI AG

Authors' information

Sahlin, Eva
Ahlborg Jr., Gunnar
University of Gothenburg
Vega-Matuszczyk, Josefa
University West

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG5 Gender equality
SDG3 Good health and wellbeing
SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

UKÄ Subject classification

Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


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