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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

Laying Down New Roots: the Impact of Community Gardening on Place Attachment and Subjective Well-being in a Bhutanese Refugee Population

This presentation explores the impacts of community gardening participation among Bhutanese refugees in Rochester, NY. Community agriculture has been used with refugee groups as a food security strategy, but has not been evaluated in relation to pychosocial well-being. Nature restoration theory suggests a positive relationship between exposure to natural settings and psychological well-being. Place attachment has also been positively linked to SWB. This study explored whether place attachment may mediate a relationship between community garden participation and subjective well-being among Bhutanese refugees. Pre-and post-gardening questionnaires were conducted with 39 Bhutanese refugee gardeners and a control group of non-gardening Bhutanese refugees from a nearby refugee outreach center. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 Bhutanese refugee gardeners. Variables included subjective well-being and place attachment. SWB was assessed using a scale designed specifically for use in refugee populations. Place attachment was assessed at four levels: home, neighborhood, city and the United States. Demographic variables (age, education, income, occupational status, gender) and indicators of adjustment (length of time in the U.S., English speaking ability, community involvement) were also examined. The impacts of community gardening, as well as directions for future study, are discussed.

Presenter: Danielle Preiss (SUNY ESF) -- dapreiss@syr.edu
Topic: Environmental Science & Studies - Panel
Location: 123 Hartwell
Time: 2:15 pm (Session III)

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