The Effects of Live Plants and Windows on Peoples' Use of Interior Study Spaces and their Perceived Quality of Life and Stress Levels




Etheredge, Coleman L.

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The main objective of this study was to examine the effects of live plants and windows in interior spaces on space usage and stress levels of users. Sites were selected based on their accessibility to the general population, their expanse of space in that multiple students, faculty, and staff could use the space at once, and their general use, meaning that no other resources were available besides seating and tables, such as computers and/or access to food/drink sales. Multiple campus sites were used including those at the university library, and areas of the business building. Assortments of interior plants were included in the study based on their aesthetic features, durability, and light and water requirements. Plants were rotated in and out of the study sites on a two-week schedule. Observations were taken approximately weekly to tally where students were active in each of the study areas and the type of activities in which they were participating. Observations occurred during high traffic times based on catalog course scheduling. Stress and quality of life measuring questionnaires were administered every week to students that were active in test sites. It was found that people were more willing to take questionnaires in areas with windows. Results demonstrate that perceived quality of life and perceived stress levels were not affected based on study environments. The study also shows that students were more prone to sit in areas that had windows, as well as communicate more in areas that had windows. There were no differences in demographic comparisons, which indicated that people were equally drawn to study areas regardless of demographic differences, and no group was more positively or negatively affected by the study environments based on windows or plants present. When each of the individual sites were looked at, no differences were found in the way in which participants answered quality of life or stress level questions based on if there were plants or no plants present in the study areas.



human-plant relationships, mental health, quality of life


Etheredge, C. L. (2011). The effects of live plants and windows on peoples' use of interior study spaces and their perceived quality of life and stress levels (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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