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Therapeutic horticulture in clinical depression: a prospective study of active components

Authors

  • Marianne Thorsen Gonzalez,

    1. Marianne Thorsen Gonzalez MNS RMN CNS Assistant Professor Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
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  • Terry Hartig,

    1. Terry Hartig MPH PhD Professor Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway, and Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden
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  • Grete Grindal Patil,

    1. Grete Grindal Patil MS PhD Associate Professor Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
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  • Egil W. Martinsen,

    1. Egil W. Martinsen MD PhD Professor Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, Norway, and Department of Research and Development, Clinic for Mental Health and Dependence, Oslo University Hospital, Norway
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  • Marit Kirkevold

    1. Marit Kirkevold EdD RN Professor Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Norway, and Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Denmark
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M.T. Gonzalez: e-mail: marianne.gonzalez@umb.no

Abstract

gonzalez m.t., hartig t., patil g.g., martinsen e.w. & kirkevold m. (2010) Therapeutic horticulture in clinical depression: a prospective study of active components. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(9), 2002–2013.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to assess change in depression severity, perceived attentional capacity and rumination (brooding) in individuals with clinical depression during a therapeutic horticulture programme and to investigate if the changes were mediated by experiences of being away and fascination.

Background.  Individuals with clinical depression suffer from distortion of attention and rumination. Interventions can help to disrupt maladaptive rumination and promote restoration of depleted attentional capacity.

Method.  A single-group study was conducted with a convenience sample of 28 people with clinical depression in 2009. Data were collected before, twice during, and immediately after a 12-week therapeutic horticulture programme, and at 3-month follow-up. Assessment instruments were the Beck Depression Inventory, Attentional Function Index, Brooding Scale, and Being Away and Fascination subscales from the Perceived Restorativeness Scale.

Findings.  Mean Beck Depression Inventory scores declined by 4·5 points during the intervention (= 5·49, = 0·002). The decline was clinically relevant for 50% of participants. Attentional Function Index scores increased (= 4·14, = 0·009), while Brooding scores decreased (= 4·51, = 0·015). The changes in Beck Depression Inventory and Attentional Function Index scores were mediated by increases in Being Away and Fascination, and decline in Beck Depression Inventory scores was also mediated by decline in Brooding. Participants maintained their improvements in Beck Depression Inventory scores at 3-month follow-up.

Conclusion.  Being away and fascination appear to work as active components in a therapeutic horticulture intervention for clinical depression.

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