Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

Major Professor

Sherry M. Cummings

Committee Members

Mary Held, William R. Nugent, Xueping Li


Nature has long been touted as a method to alleviate the symptoms of stressful modern life and introduce some aesthetic novelty. For those individuals for whom access to nature is in some way limited, especially older adults facing poor physical or mental health, novel approaches to bring the outside world in are necessary to help enhance quality of life. This pilot study endeavors to help improve the mood of a sample of 43 older adults by testing a new intervention – using smart phones to deliver 360-degree videos of nature. Results of the study provide evidence that the intervention may improve older adults’ mood, and that age may have a moderating effect on that relationship. Though the study suffers from significant limitations related to sample size and technological problems, this is an important first step to a program of research that has exciting possibilities as a highly portable and customizable treatment.

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