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A Systematic Review of Studies Describing the Effectiveness, Acceptability, and Potential Harms of Place-Based Interventions to Address Loneliness and Mental Health Problems

Hsueh, Y-C., Batchelor, R., Liebmann, M. , Dhanani, A., Vaughan, L., Fett, A-K. ORCID: 0000-0003-0282-273X, Mann, F. & Pitman, A. (2022). A Systematic Review of Studies Describing the Effectiveness, Acceptability, and Potential Harms of Place-Based Interventions to Address Loneliness and Mental Health Problems. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(8), 4766. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19084766

Abstract

Given the links between the built environment and loneliness, there is interest in using place-based approaches (addressing built environment characteristics and related socio-spatial factors) in local communities to tackle loneliness and mental health problems. However, few studies have described the effectiveness, acceptability, or potential harms of such interventions. This review aimed to synthesize the literature describing local community-based interventions that target place-based factors to address loneliness and mental health problems, informing the development of future public health approaches. We searched PsycINFO, Medline, and Embase using a structured search strategy to identify English-language studies evaluating the effectiveness, acceptability, and potential harms of place-based community interventions in addressing loneliness and mental health problems, both in general and clinical populations. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria, classified as evaluating provision of community facilities (such as clubhouses), active engagement in local green spaces, and housing regeneration. None were randomised trials. Quantitative and qualitative findings suggested promising effects and/or acceptability of six interventions, with minimal potential harms. There is a clear need for randomised trials or quasi-experimental studies of place-based interventions to describe their effectiveness in addressing loneliness and mental health problems, as well as complementary qualitative work investigating acceptability. This will inform future policy development.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: loneliness; mental health; built environment; nature; garden; community
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
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