Master of Science
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
INTRODUCTION: Research has identified positive associations between green space and health and green space and mental health. Substance use outcomes, however, have received considerably less attention.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between residential greenness and patterns of substance use among transitional aged youth (age 15-25) in Canada.
METHODS: This study utilized three waves (2016-2018) of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) as well as residential greenness data from the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Consortium (CANUE). Multivariable regression was used to explore variation in the pattern of substance use between greenness quartiles. The sample included 14,070 transitional aged youth.
RESULTS: Higher levels of residential greenness were associated with lower odds of frequent binge drinking, lower odds of tobacco use, and greater odds for marijuana use.
CONCLUSION: Living in greener neighborhoods may confer benefits to substance use tendencies among transitional aged youth.
Summary for Lay Audience
Research has found that living near green spaces, like residential parks, conservation areas, public gardens, etc., can have positive impacts on an individual's health. People who live in greener areas tend to have better physical health and better mental health than those who do not. Green spaces are believed to positively impact health in a variety of ways, including: the promotion of physical activity, the reduction of pollutants, social cohesion, and psychological restoration.
An important dimension to green space and health/mental health that has received little attention is substance use. This study is the first to investigate the association between green space and alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use, among transitional aged youth (ages 15-25) living in Canada. Using three cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) in conjunction with residential greenness data, patterns of substance were compared between areas with high levels of greenness and areas with low levels of greenness. The results of the study suggest that living in greener areas may offer protective benefits for certain patterns of substance use. Individuals living in greener areas were found to binge drink and smoke tobacco less frequently than those living in less green areas. These findings speak to the importance of green spaces to help mitigate both substance using and abusing tendencies, and the potential for green spaces to be utilized in the delivery of addiction services.
Wiley, Evan R., "Residential Greenness and Substance Use" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7974.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.