Online Program

Combined gardening and mindfulness predict physical and mental quality of life in senior adults

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mallory Cases, M.P.H., C.P.H., Department of Health Behavior / Cancer Prevention & Control Training Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Christopher Thorne, M.A., Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Deven Lackraj, Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D., Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Previous research suggests that both gardening and mindfulness interventions improve quality of life (QOL).The aim of this study was to explore whether the combination of gardening and mindfulness is associated with higher QOL relative to gardening or mindfulness alone. Men and women from the Well Elderly Study (N = 1600) were divided into four groups: (1) Gardening, those who reported gardening and not mindfulness; (2) Mindfulness, those who reported mindfulness (“I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing some/a little of the time” or “rarely/none of the time”) and not gardening; (3) Combined, those who reported both gardening and mindfulness; and (4) Neither, those who reported neither gardening nor mindfulness. Physical and Mental QOL Component scores (SF36) were compared amongst the four groups. The Combined group (M=43.08, SD=9.42) reported higher physical QOL values than either the Neither (mean difference=5.95, SE=1.27, p<.001) or Mindfulness (mean difference=2.14, SE=.56, p=.001) groups. The Combined (M=49.65, SD=9.57) and Mindfulness (M=48.08, SD=11.16) groups reported higher mental QOL values than the Neither (mean difference from Combined=11.40, SE=1.35, p<.001, mean difference from Mindfulness=9.83, SE=1.30, p<.001) and Gardening (mean difference from Combined=9.01, SE=2.22, p<.001, mean difference from Mindfulness=7.45, SE=2.19, p=.004) groups. The Combined group also reported significantly higher subscale scores in General Health, Social Functioning, Vitality and Emotional Role compared to all other groups (all p-values <.05). These findings suggest a combined gardening/mindfulness intervention could improve both physical and mental QOL in senior adults.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe potential intervention for increased quality of life in senior adults Compare current interventions against a joint intervention in effectiveness

Keyword(s): Aging, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student receiving my PhD in Health Behavior. I have over 6 years of experience in the field and am currently conducting research and training under an NCI R25 mechanism.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.