Local availability of green and blue space and prevalence of common mental disorders in the Netherlands

Vries, Sjerp de; Have, Margreet ten; Dorsselaer, Saskia van; Wezep, Manja van; Hermans, Tia; Graaf, Ron de


Background: Previous studies revealed a relationship between residential green space availability and health, especially mental health. Studies on blue space are scarcer and results less conclusive. Aims: To investigate the hypotheses that green and blue space availability are negatively associated with anxiety and mood disorders, and positively associated with self-reported mental and general health. Method: Health data were derived from a nationally representative survey (NEMESIS-2, n=6621), using a diagnostic interview to assess disorders. Green and blue space availability were expressed as percentages of the area within 1 km from one's home. Results: The hypotheses were confirmed, except for green space and mood disorders. Associations were generally stronger for blue space than for green space, with ORs up to 0.74 for a 10%-point increase. Conclusions: Despite the different survey design and health measures, the results largely replicate those of previous studies on green space. Blue space availability deserves more systematic attention.