Changes in cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone levels immediately after urban park visits


The purpose of this study is to explore physiological and psychological changes immediately after a short-term visit to urban parks in an uncontrolled condition. Sixty park visitors completed a short questionnaire evaluating their subjective well-being (SWB) and donated a saliva sample immediately before and after their park visit. In addition, participants wore a pedometer to track their physical activity level during the park visit. Results indicated the levels of all biomarkers (cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA], and cortisol/DHEA ratio) decreased while SWB scores increased after the park visit. The duration of park visit was identified as a key variable significantly associated with cortisol reduction, and changes in SWB scores after the park visit were significantly associated with changes in cortisol level. A park visit duration of 21.8 min has the predictive ability to discriminate park visitors who exhibit reductions in cortisol levels after the park visit from those who do not.



Publication Date

Winter 12-8-2021

Journal Title

International Journal of Environmental Health Research

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type