Published: 3 April 2020 at 08:43
Research, carried out in north London, shows clear benefits of allotments
New research has found that allotment gardening promotes positive body image, which measures someone’s appreciation of their own body and its functions, and an acceptance of bodily imperfections.
The study, published in the journal Ecopsychology and led by Professor Viren Swami of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), involved 84 gardeners from 12 urban allotment sites in north London.
Through a series of questionnaires, it found that the gardeners had significantly higher levels of body appreciation, significantly higher levels of body pride, and significantly higher levels of appreciation for their body’s functionality, compared to a group of 81 non-gardeners, recruited from the same area of London.
The study also discovered that the longer period of time the participants spent gardening, the larger the improvement in positive body image when they left their allotment.
Previous research has shown that gardening is associated with improved psychological wellbeing and physical health. This new study adds to previous work by Professor Swami demonstrating that exposure to natural environments helps to promote positive body image.
Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), in Cambridge, and Perdana University, in Malaysia, said: