Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-Treatment, Attention-deficit disorder in adolescence-Treatment, Nature-Psychological aspects, College students-Mental health, ADHD, Nature


This qualitative study explored the effects of exposure to natural green spaces on symptoms of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among diagnosed college students. Six students from three universities in the San Francisco Bay Area were interviewed regarding the impact of experiences in urban green spaces and wilderness on their perceived attentional functioning, stress, and mood. The study sought to: 1) contribute to the growing base of literature and research on Attention Restoration Theory (ART); 2) offer a potential non-pharmacological alternative treatment for ADHD; and 3) further develop within the field of social work an understanding of the natural environment as it relates to behavioral and mental health. The findings demonstrated that activities in outdoor settings helped reduce attention-deficit symptoms. All participants noted that time spent in nature often leads to a reduction of tension and helps redirect attention from tangential and racing thoughts to a greater state of mental relaxation. Suggestions for further research were given, as well as recommendations that the natural environment become a routine part of the assessment and treatment.




iii, 82 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 61-65)

Limited Access until August 2017