by AF Taylor, FE Kuo, WC Sullivan

Environment and Behavior 33(1):54-77


In the United States, over 2 million children have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). However, available treatments are often ineffective, especially in the long-term, and have side effects. In this study, the authors explore the relationship between children’s exposure to nature through leisure activities and attentional functioning. The parents of children diagnosed with ADD were surveyed regarding their children’s attentional functioning after their child participated in activities that took place in both outdoor and indoor settings. Results indicated that the attentional functionality of children significantly improved after they participated in activities that took place in green settings. Furthermore, results showed that the “greener” the play area, the less severe the ADD symptoms experienced by the children. Parent ratings of post-activity attentional functioning tended to be higher for activities carried out in green settings compared to activities that took place in indoor settings. The authors also rule out several alternative explanations, thereby strengthening the study results. The main findings of the study suggest that contact with nature may significantly improve the attentional functioning of children struggling with ADD.

Region: Midwestern United States
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: children and youth, contact with nature, greenspace, and surveys and interviews