Health Team

Study: Being outside can ward off depression in teenagers

Posted April 24, 2018 9:12 a.m. EDT

Research shows that being in nature can help ward of symptoms of depression for adults, and a new study shows the same might be true for teenagers.

The study in the journal of Adolescent Health showed that being outside can help lift teenagers' moods, especially for middle-school-aged children.

"What they found, particularly in young kids, that there was an association with some benefit in decreasing depressive symptoms the closer that they lived to a green space," said Dr. Joseph Austerman of the Cleveland Clinic.

Austerman said the study looked at more than 9,000 children between ages 12 and 18. Results showed that young people who live around the highest quality "green space" were less likely to experience depression symptoms than peers who live among areas of less vegetation.

The study showed being active, being less connected to electronics and being more in tune with the outdoors improved participants' moods.

Austerman said the greater benefit for younger teens compared to older teens might be due to older teens being more addicted to their devices and being more out of tune with the outside world.

"Being interactive with our environments, getting outside, being physically active, is important and it helps us both emotionally, as well as physically," Austerman said.

Researchers also found that even in urban areas, simply bringing greenery indoors helps our moods, even something as simple as having indoor plants or photos showing scenes of nature.