In past literature, exposure to nature has been demonstrated to have beneficial, restorative effects on the human body and cognitions. Using a two-wave, full panel design, the present study takes an interdisciplinary approach to extend previous findings and to explore the relationship between exposure to nature at work and workplace strain outcomes. The Attention Restoration Theory was used to describe how nature exposure indirectly reduces strain, through increased employee attention. The sample (N = 176) consisted of full-time office employees, working in an urban setting in the United States. Results demonstrated significant relationships between workplace nature exposure, directed attention, and strain outcomes (burnout, job dissatisfaction, and depressive symptoms). Specifically, directed attention significantly mediated the association between nature exposure and all workplace strain outcomes. The findings of the study provide several practical and theoretical contributions to occupational health science through the consideration of increased exposure to nature as a new, additional job resource. Future research should consider the relevance of workplace nature exposure to stressor-strain theory and the incorporation of nature into stress management interventions.
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This study was funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/ National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) through the Sunshine Education and Research Center (ERC) at USF (5T42OH008438-13). The views and opinions in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of NIOSH nor USF.
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Thompson, A., Bruk-Lee, V. Naturally! Examining Nature’s Role in Workplace Strain Reduction. Occup Health Sci 3, 23–43 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41542-019-00033-5