2008 Volume 46 Issue 4 Pages 233-240
In Japan, Horticultural activity improves the quality of life for all people by beautifying neighborhoods, stimulating social inter-action, producing nutritious food, encouraging self-reliance, conserving resources, and creating opportunities for recreation and education. However, the psychological effects of horticultural activities in community based programs have not been discussed in as far as they provide useful tools to improve quality of life. In this study, subjects (61 in total, 22 men and 39 women, mean age=46) were engaged in activities related to horticulture: active participation involved planting non-flowering pansy plants while passive participation involved observing a community garden. One group engaged in active participation was given 2 h to garden while two other groups were given 6 h to complete their Horticultural Activity (HA). POMS data for all groups was collected both before and after of their gardening activities. The 6 h HA group members in experiment 3 filled out the POMS form 2 h into the activity in addition the before and after inventories. The overall POMS score for 2 h of horticultural activity was significantly higher than that of simply observing for 2 h. The greatest psychological effects were found among the group that engaged in 2 h of horticultural activity. The result suggests that 2 h of horticultural activity induces the best psychological effects. Thus, the POMS scores indicate that horticultural activities have positive psychological effects under suitable conditions. These findings indicate that horticultural activity improves mood state, suggesting that it may be a useful tool for community based programs aiming to reduce stress. Therefore, to the extent that horticultural activities contribute to community residents' stress reduction, these findings support the role of horticultural activity as an effective component of community based programs. A principal goal for community based programs is establishing the conditions that will encourage individuals to participate. The benefits of stress reduction gained from 2 h of horticultural activity may be an important condition for sustainable participation.