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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Longer Nature-Based Rehabilitation May Contribute to a Faster Return to Work in Patients with Reactions to Severe Stress and/or Depression

Grahn, Patrik; Palsdottir, Anna Maria; Ottosson, Johan; Jonsdottir, Ingibjoerg H.


The global burden of depression and stress-related mental disorders is substantial, and constitutes a major need for effective rehabilitation. Can nature-based rehabilitation help people return to work? Objective: To study if the length of a nature-based rehabilitation program affects the outcome with regard to return to work one year after the onset of the program, in a group of patients with long-term reactions to severe stress and/or depression. Methods: A prospective, quasi-experimental study comparing results from 8-, 12-, and 24-week periods of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation of 106 participants was carried out by a multimodal rehabilitation team in a specially designed rehabilitation garden. Return to work data were collected before the intervention and one year after the start of rehabilitation. In addition, data were collected regarding self-assessed occupational competence, personal control, and sense of coherence. As many as 68% of the participants returned to work or participated in job training or work-oriented measures, full- or part-time, after one year. Participants with a longer period of rehabilitation reported better results on occupational competence, and were more likely to participate in paid work, full-time or part-time, one year after rehabilitation. Study outcomes indicate that a longer rehabilitation period in a rehabilitation garden increases the possibility of a return to paid work.


horticultural therapy; burnout; vocational therapy; common mental disorders; dose respond; healing garden

Published in

International journal of environmental research and public health
2017, Volume: 14, number: 11, article number: 1310

      SLU Authors

      • Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG3 Good health and well-being
        SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
        Landscape Architecture
        Environmental Health and Occupational Health

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