Effects of Environmental Design Inspired by nature on Psychological and Physiological Responses of Clients in Medical Spaces

Document Type: Original Research Paper

Authors

Department of Psychology, University of Payam-e-noor, P.O.BOX 19395-4697, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Medical environments such as hospital waiting rooms can affect a client’s anxiety level as well
as psychological and physiological responses to his or her situation. The aim of this research was to evaluate
the use of environmental design, specifically the design which incorporates elements of nature, in clinics and
hospitals to decrease anxiety, blood pressure and pulse rates of waiting clients. Representations of nature and
the natural environment are known to recover a dynamic union between an environment and its user, therefore
the effects of environmental design on subjects’ responses are measured and analyzed. In order to examine
these hypotheses a sample of 145 people were chosen as subjects for the experiment. They were divided into
control and experiment groups, both of which included males and females. The designed environment was
applied for the experiment group which included elements of nature, green plants, sounds of waterfall and
birds. Both control and experiment groups were pre tested and then post tested. The findings showed that
being in the designed hospital’s waiting room was clearly effective at decreasing a client’s level of anxiety (p<
0.001), blood pressure (p< 0.001) and pulse rate (0.001). We propose that using an environmental design for
medical treatment centers can reduce levels of anxiety in clients and can effectively foster a sense of wellbeing.

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