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Area-aggregated assessments of perceived environmental attributes may overcome single-source bias in studies of green environments and health: results from a cross-sectional survey in southern Sweden

de Jong, Kim and Albin, Maria and Skärbäck, Erik and Grahn, Patrik and Wadbro, John and Merlo, Juan and Björk, Jonas (2011). Area-aggregated assessments of perceived environmental attributes may overcome single-source bias in studies of green environments and health: results from a cross-sectional survey in southern Sweden. Environmental health a global access science source. 10, 1-11
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Abstract

Most studies assessing health effects of neighborhood characteristics either use self-reports or objective assessments of the environment, the latter often based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS). While objective measures require detailed landscape data, self-assessments may yield confounded results. In this study we demonstrate how self-assessments of green neighborhood environments aggregated to narrow area units may serve as an appealing compromise between objective measures and individual self-assessments. Methods The study uses cross-sectional data (N = 24,847) from a public health survey conducted in the county of Scania, southern Sweden, in 2008 and validates the Scania Green Score (SGS), a new index comprising five self-reported green neighborhood qualities (Culture, Lush, Serene, Spacious and Wild). The same qualities were also assessed objectively using landscape data and GIS. A multilevel (ecometric) model was used to aggregate individual self-reports to assessments of perceived green environmental attributes for areas of 1,000 square meters. We assessed convergent and concurrent validity for self-assessments of the five items separately and for the sum score, individually and area-aggregated. Results Correlations between the index scores based on self-assessments and the corresponding objective assessments were clearly present, indicating convergent validity, but the agreement was low. The correlation was even more evident for the area-aggregated SGS. All three scores (individual SGS, area-aggregated SGS and GIS index score) were associated with neighborhood satisfaction, indicating concurrent validity. However, while individual SGS was associated with vitality, this association was not present for aggregated SGS and the GIS-index score, suggesting confounding (single-source bias) when individual SGS was used. Conclusions Perceived and objectively assessed qualities of the green neighborhood environment correlate but do not agree. An index score based on self-reports but aggregated to narrow area units can be a valid approach to assess perceived green neighborhood qualities in settings where objective assessments are not possible or feasible. .

Authors/Creators:de Jong, Kim and Albin, Maria and Skärbäck, Erik and Grahn, Patrik and Wadbro, John and Merlo, Juan and Björk, Jonas
Title:Area-aggregated assessments of perceived environmental attributes may overcome single-source bias in studies of green environments and health: results from a cross-sectional survey in southern Sweden
Series/Journal:Environmental health a global access science source (BIB10381496)
Year of publishing :2011
Volume:10
Page range:1-11
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:BMC
ISSN:1476-069X
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Landscape Architecture
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences
Keywords:natural environments, green spaces, health
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3005
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3005
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000287131500001
DOI10.1186/1476-069X-10-4
ID Code:12595
Faculty:LTJ - Faculty of Landscape Planning, Horticulture and Agricultural Science (until 2013)
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Landscape Architecture (until 121231)
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:21 Oct 2015 06:15
Metadata Last Modified:20 Feb 2016 05:01

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