Effects of Natural Interaction on Burnout and Well-being in Working Students

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Becknell, Lauren
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Burnout research supports a negative impact on working people’s psychological and physiological health, and it typically manifests from prolonged work strain. There is growing research supporting interacting with natural environments can facilitate restoration and work-stress recovery through decreasing negative feelings associated with acute stress and lowering the physiological effects of arousal. This study aims to 1) establish a relationship between natural interaction and both burnout and well-being; 2) explore differences between interacting with greenspace versus virtual nature regarding burnout and well-being; 3) investigate the influence of physical activity on the relationship between natural interaction and burnout/well being. Participants (N=48) completed a survey measuring preexisting burnout and well-being measures; after completing the survey, they were randomly assigned to either participate in a greenspace or virtual natural environment for a minimum of 30 minutes a day for one week while completing daily diary surveys reflecting on their experience. After one week of natural interaction, participants retook the survey. Participants in both conditions exhibited lower mean burnout after one week of natural interaction. Condition (greenspace or virtual) and physical activity did not have significant influences on burnout and well-being levels. These results support that interacting with nature can facilitate positive changes in working student burnout levels, establishing natural interaction as a viable tool for burnout intervention programs
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Undergraduate Thesis
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