Association between urban greenness and depressive symptoms: Evaluation of greenness using various indicators

Hyeonjin Song, Kevin James Lane, Honghyok Kim, Hyomi Kim, Garam Byun, Minh Le, Yongsoo Choi, Chan Ryul Park, Jong Tae Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing number of studies have suggested benefits of greenness exposure on mental health. We examined the association between urban greenness and depressive symptoms in adults in the general population living in the seven major cities in Korea (N = 65,128). Using data from the Korean Community Health Survey 2009, depressive symptoms were measured on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Greenness was assessed using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and land-use data (forest area and forest volume). Logistic regression models were fitted to adjust for potential confounders. Individuals in regions with the highest NDVI (quartile 4) had the lowest odds for depressive symptoms compared to quartile 1, after adjusting for potential confounders (OR = 0.813; 95% CI: 0.747, 0.884). For all greenness indicators except for forest area per district area (%), the highest rate of depressive symptoms was found for the individuals in the lowest quartile of greenness (quartile 1) and the lowest rate of depressive symptoms for those in the highest quartile of greenness (quartile 4). We found an inverse association between urban greenness and depressive symptoms, which was consistent across a variety of greenness indicators. Our study suggests health benefits of greenness and could provide a scientific basis for policy making and urban planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 2


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Logistic regression
  • Normalized difference vegetation index
  • Urban greenness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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