The Psychological Wellbeing Index will help us understand whether Puget Sound residents experience inspiration and stress reduction while in nature. These are critical measures of whether the natural environment contributes to human wellbeing.
Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab
The Psychological Wellbeing Index is measured by using two survey questions to determine the degree to which engagement with the natural environment contributes to psychological wellbeing. An index is appropriate because each question measures a related, yet unique, aspect of the concept.
Data are collected every 2 years via paper survey to a random sample of Puget Sound households. The population chosen for this survey was a clustered random sample of Puget Sound residents, with an initial sample of 9,000. Due to undeliverable addresses, the total sample reached was less than 9,000. In 2020, the response rate was 25% for a total of 1,843 respondents.
Also appended is a 2021 purposive sample of 180 Latinx respondents who were selected using a Qualtrics panel, radio, newspaper and social media recruitment.
Mean index score was 4.01, equating to “regularly (once a week)” experiencing stress reduction and inspiration while in Puget Sound natural environments. About 65% of the Puget Sound population had these experiences at least once a week or more frequently.
For the random sample of the Puget Sound, a multivariate linear regression model predicted 11% percent of the variation in responses to this indicator based on demographics. People who were more likely to experience psychological benefits from Puget Sound environments had been in the region fewer years, were on average more formally education, and were more likely to be non-white and liberal. For the purposive Latinx sample, people with higher life satisfaction were more liberal leaning and had higehr income (8.2% of variance explained). These metrics also strongly correlated to Life Satisfaction scores, which are a general measure of perceived satisfaction with life. Generally, Life Satisfaction is best predicted by close social relationships and work satisfaction, among others. The fact that experiences in the natural environmental are also correlated is an important finding for addressing wellbeing.
This is the second iteration of collecting these data. We do not anticipate significant differences to appear until several years of monitoring.
The Puget Sound Partnership believes in the transparency and accessibility of the data used to address progress measures. These data are provided by contributing partners to the Partnership and are made publicly available through the Puget Sound Info site. These data are available on an "as is" basis and the Partnership is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. Please acknowledge the monitoring program and data source when using these data and obtain permission from the Vital Sign Indicator Reporter to use these data in a publication.
Never, Rarely (1-4 times a year), Occasionally (Once a month), Regularly (Once a week), Frequently (Almost every day)