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Participation in local food projects is associated with better psychological well-being: Evidence from the East of England

Bharucha, Zareen Pervez, Weinstein, Netta ORCID:, Watson, Dave and Boehm, Steffen 2020. Participation in local food projects is associated with better psychological well-being: Evidence from the East of England. Journal of Public Health 42 (2) , e187-e197. 10.1093/pubmed/fdz057

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Background Studies suggest that local food may contribute to well-being, but do not use standardized measures, or control groups. Methods An online survey compared participants of local food initiatives (n = 302) with members of the general population (n = 157) in terms of scores on standardized measures of well-being and distress. Using hierarchical ordinary least squares regression models, we explored the relationship between participation and well-being via four mediators—nature connectedness, psychological need satisfaction, diet and physical activity. Results Participants scored higher than non-participants on life satisfaction (t(346) = 2.30, P = 0.02, ρr = 0.12) and the WEMWBS scale (t(335) = 2.12, P = 0.04, ρr = 0.10), but differences in psychological distress were insignificant. More actively engaged participants scored higher on positive well-being and longer duration participation was associated with higher life satisfaction and less psychological distress. Finally, we found that participation contributes to psychological need satisfaction, better diet and connection to nature, three known drivers of well-being. Conclusions Well-being may be a co-benefit of local food initiatives beyond the physical and psychological benefits of growing food. Further research is needed to explore the mediators driving these effects, quantify benefits, and track impacts over time and across different social groups.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1741-3842
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 26 April 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 17:48

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