Older people, the natural environment and common mental disorders: cross-sectional results from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study

Wu, Yu-Tzu, Prina, Matthew, Jones, Andy, Matthews, Fiona and Brayne, Carol (2015) Older people, the natural environment and common mental disorders: cross-sectional results from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study. BMJ Open, 5 (9). ISSN 2044-6055

[thumbnail of Manuscript-BMJOpen-accepted]
PDF (Manuscript-BMJOpen-accepted) - Accepted Version
Download (309kB) | Preview


Objectives: To explore the hypothesis that higher exposure to natural environments in local areas is associated with a lower odds of depression and anxiety in later life Design: A cross-sectional study based on the year-10 interview of the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS), a population-based study of ageing in the UK. Postcodes of the CFAS participants were mapped onto small geographic units, Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) and linked to environmental data from government databases. The natural environment was characterised as the percentage of green space and private gardens in each LSOA based on the UK Generalised Land Use 2001 Dataset. Participants 2424 people aged 74 and over in the CFAS year-10 follow-up interview (2001) from four English centres (Cambridgeshire, Nottingham, Newcastle and Oxford) Main outcome measures: Depression and anxiety; clinical and sub-threshold cases were identified using the Geriatric Mental State Examination (GMS) package and its associated diagnostic algorithm: the Automated Geriatric Examination for Computer Assisted Taxonomy. Results: Compared to the lowest quartile, living in the highest quartile of neighbourhood natural environment provision was associated with a reduced odds of sub-threshold depression (OR: 0.66, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.95), anxiety symptoms (OR: 0.62, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.83) and their co-occurrence (OR: 0.55, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.84) after adjusting for individual level factors. Controlling for area deprivation attenuated the strength of associations for sub-threshold depression by 20% but not for anxiety symptoms or for co-occurrence of the conditions. Conclusions: A high exposure to natural environments (green space and gardens) in communities was associated with fewer mental disorders amongst older people. Increasing provision of green environments in local areas could be a potential population-level intervention to improve mental health amongst older people.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 3 - good health and well-being,sdg 15 - life on land ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 13:00
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 01:05
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/54751
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007936

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item