Exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older adults

Scott, Theresa L., Masser, Barbara M. and Pachana, Nancy A. (2014) Exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older adults. Ageing and Society, 35 10: 2176-2200. doi:10.1017/S0144686X14000865

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Author Scott, Theresa L.
Masser, Barbara M.
Pachana, Nancy A.
Title Exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older adults
Journal name Ageing and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0144-686X
Publication date 2014-08-27
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0144686X14000865
Open Access Status
Volume 35
Issue 10
Start page 2176
End page 2200
Total pages 25
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Research shows that contact with nature plays a vital role in our psychological wellbeing. Domestic gardening is common among older adults who spend more leisure hours gardening than any other age group. Despite this, few studies have systematically explored the significance of domestic gardens in relation to older adults' health and wellbeing. This study examined the perceived therapeutic benefits of gardening, and the effect of ageing in relation to older gardeners' continued participation in gardening, using quantitative and qualitative data from a survey of Australian older adult gardeners (N=331). The quantitative data, which included frequencies, were analysed using the PASW Statistics 18.0 package. The qualitative data, which included participants' responses to open questions, were analysed by deriving themes via Leximancer, an innovative text analytics software that uses word association information to elicit concepts, extracting the most important and grouping these according to themes. In relation to the reasons for gardening, several themes were identified including valuing the aesthetics of gardens, connecting with nature, achievement, and physical and mental activity. The benefits of gardening, and the variety of ways that respondents had adapted or modified their gardening activities in order to continue, are also reported. Gardening was more than a casual leisure pursuit for these participants, who saw it as critical to their physical and psychological wellbeing.
Keyword Gardening
Older Adults
Positive ageing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 27 August 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 12:35:30 EST by Dr Barbara Masser on behalf of School of Psychology