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Effect of Frequency of Using Forest Environment on Workers' Stress: a Comparative Study on Workers in Medical and Counseling Service Institution

산림환경 이용 빈도가 근로자의 스트레스에 미치는 영향: 의료 및 상담서비스기관 종사자에 대한 비교 연구

  • 정원희 (인제대학교 스트레스연구소) ;
  • 우종민 (인제대학교 스트레스연구소) ;
  • 유지수 (인제대학교 스트레스연구소)
  • Received : 2014.01.17
  • Accepted : 2014.03.12
  • Published : 2014.03.31

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the effect of frequency of using forest environment on workers' stress. Workers in medical and counseling industry, which is recently known to require heavy emotional burden and thus cause a lot of stress and burnout syndrome, participated in the study. We classified 370 subjects, who were working at medical and counseling service institutions in Seoul metropolitan area, into two groups according to frequency of using forest environment by conducting a screening survey. 69 subjects submitted written consent and were recruited for either forest therapy program or control-group test; the "high" group (n=27) at the high frequency of using forest environment and the "low" group (n=42) at the low level. We measured the level of stress by using psychosocial indicators such as Worker's Stress Response Inventory (WSRI), Recovery Experience Questionnaire (REQ), and Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) and biological ones such as heart rate variability (HRV), cortisol, and Natural Killer cell (NK cell). The results suggested that the level of stress differed by frequency. The "high" group showed significantly low scores in the depression and work sub-scale and the total score of WSRI, emotional exhaustion, professional efficacy and total score of MBI-GS, and high scores in the total score of REQ. Similar tendencies were observed in the most of other indicators of psychosocial measures. Regarding the biological indicators, the "high" group showed the highest SDNN, RMSSD and TP measures of HRV and NK Cell activity and the low cortisol, although the statistical power did not reach the significant level. Our results suggest that the subjects who use forest environment frequently show favorable stress level both psychologically and biologically.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : 산림청

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