Deakin University

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Associations between coastal proximity and children’s mental health in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-13, 05:02 authored by Laura Helena Oostenbach, J Noall, KE Lamb, AL Pearson, S Mavoa, Lukar ThorntonLukar Thornton
Limited research has explored associations between blue spaces and mental health, specifically in children. This study assessed links between coastal proximity and depression and anxiety among children in Australia and tested whether duration of residency at current address moderated associations. It also explored associations between within-individual changes in coastal proximity and changes in depression and anxiety. Data were from 2400 children aged 11–12 years in Wave 5 (2012) and aged 14–15 years in Wave 6 (2014) of the national Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Outcomes were children’s self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exposure was coastal proximity (<2, 2–<5, 5–<10, 10–<20, 20–<50, and ≥50 km). Linear models were fitted to examine cross-sectional associations and fixed effects models for within-individual associations. After adjustment for potential confounders, findings suggested that those living close to the coast (<2 km) had lower levels of depression than those living the furthest from the coast (≥50 km) during childhood (Wave 5) but not adolescence (Wave 6). No associations were observed with anxiety. There was weak evidence to suggest residency duration moderated associations. No associations were observed for within-individual changes. Further research is needed to understand whether and what characteristics of coastal environments may benefit children’s mental health.



Geographical Research







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal