Overlays, Views, and Stress (12-26-18)

Research conducted with children may indicate a way to at least partially compensate for lack of nature views in areas where people are likely to feel stressed.  Pearson and team collected data from pediatric hospital patients (2-18 years old) who were assigned to hospital rooms that either had no applique like overlays that partially covered the windows of their rooms or realistic overlays on their windows that were reminiscent of an undersea environment (“aquatic animals and sea plants”) or a wooded meadow (“greenery, trees, and grass”). The window in each room looked out onto a courtyard “with minimal landscaping. . . . Neither the landscape below nor the sky above were visible from the participants’ beds.” The researchers determined that “Patients in the rooms with murals [these are the ones with the overlays] were found to have improvements in heart rate and systolic blood pressure. . . .  patients in tree murals rooms had the most health-related outcomes. . . . the tree [mural covered] 45.23% of the window and the fish mural covering 51.77% of the window. The design of the window murals still allows for adequate natural daylight and has visual connection to the outdoors via the existing windows. . . . The mean change in systolic blood pressure was significantly greater in the rooms with tree murals than the control group on Day 2 (24–48 hr). The difference in means of change between the control group and the fish group was not significant. . . . the installation of window murals may mimic the effects of actual nature scenes.”

Michelle Pearson, Kristi Gaines, Debajyoti Pati, Malinda Colwell, Leslie Motheral, and Nicole Adams.  “The Physiological Impact of Window Murals on Pediatric Patients.” HERD:  Health Environments Research and Design Journal, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/1937586718800483