Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2019, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (1): 139-150.doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0987-x

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Effect of Short-term Forest Bathing in Urban Parks on Perceived Anxiety of Young-adults: A Pilot Study in Guiyang, Southwest China

ZHOU Changwei1, YAN Lingbin1, YU Lifei1, WEI Hongxu2, GUAN Haoming2, SHANG Chongfei1, CHEN Feiyu1, BAO Junzhou1   

  1. 1. College of Life Science, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China;
    2. Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
  • Received:2017-11-10 Revised:2018-03-09 Online:2019-02-27 Published:2019-01-05
  • Contact: YU;WEI;
  • Supported by:

    Under the auspices of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31600496), National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC0500300), Construction Program of Biology First-class Discipline in Guizhou (No. GNYL[2017]009)


Forest can be taken as a natural therapy to alleviate perceived anxiety of visitors. Given the geographical difference between urban and rural forest environments, little is known about the urban forest therapy effect of anxiety alleviation with reference to the rural forest. In this study, forty-three university students (aged from 19 to 23) were recruited as participants to visit the forest parks at urban and rural areas of Guiyang City on 21 and 23 December 2016. The forest experience was separated by four sceneries. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires by self-evaluating specific anxiety change from 12 questions with scores from 1 to 10 at both entrance and exit of the parks. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test and paired t-test were used to compare the change of anti-anxiety scores during forest bathing and between urban and rural forests, respectively. Results revealed that forest bathing in the urban park can alleviate the anxiety from financial state (P=0.0028), exam-pass pressure (P=0.0040) and love-affair relationship (P=0.0286). Although rural forest bathing can also alleviate the anxiety from financial state (P=0.0222), meanwhile, it maintained the anxiety about campus life (P < 0.0001). Forest tree richness tended to be higher in the rural forest park than in the urban one, which in contrast decreased the anxiety alleviation from inter-communication in the rural forest park (P=0.0487). Principle component analysis indicated that participants tended to perceive more decline of anxiety from social contact in the urban forest. In conclusion, university students were recommended to pay a short visit to the urban forest with partners if they felt anxious about personal affairs and felt necessary to talk with others. For general people's visiting, urban forest trees can be controlled in diversity to some extent to look orderly and alleviate perceived anxiety.

Key words: urbanization, tension, mental disease, behavior disorder, undergraduate, well-being