Teenagers face unprecedented levels of stress and mental health issues. However, this age group is understudied in terms of which green environments are restorative for them. This study investigates associations between perceived sensory dimensions (PSDs) of urban green spaces (UGSs) and teenagers’ perceived restoration, stress, and mental health. Data were collected through surveys with 384 teenagers ages 13–19 in 2018 in eight different UGSs in Aydın, Turkey. Measures included the PSDs (i.e., nature, serene, space, rich in species, social, prospect, culture, and refuge), the Perceived Restorative Components Scale for children (PRCS-C) (i.e., fascination, being away-physical, compatibility, being away-psychological, and extent), and health indicators (i.e., stress and mental health). Multivariate linear regression and stratified analyses were conducted to examine associations and differences between boys and girls controlling for confounding factors. Regression analyses showed that ‘nature’ was positively associated with teenagers’ perceived restorativeness (i.e., fascination, being away-physical, and extent). Whereas, ‘refuge’ was positively associated with perceived restorativeness (i.e., being away-physical) and negatively associated with teenagers’ stress. The results also showed that while ‘space’ was negatively associated with perceived restorativeness (i.e., fascination), ‘prospect’ was negatively associated with stress and positively associated with mental health. Stratified analyses revealed that ‘nature’ was both positively associated with boys’ perceived restorativeness (i.e., being away-physical) and girls’ perceived restorativeness (i.e., fascination). While ‘space’ was negatively associated with boys’ perceived restorativeness (i.e., fascination), ‘prospect’ was negatively associated with boys’ stress and positively associated with boys’ mental health. The findings also showed that ‘prospect’ and ‘refuge’ were negatively associated with girls’ stress. The findings suggest that providing characteristics of ‘nature’, ‘refuge’, and ‘prospect’ in UGSs may provide restorative effects and mental benefits to teenagers. However, further research is needed before using these characteristics as a tool by landscape architects and city planners.
Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 214, Ocotber 2021, article 104185,