Dr Anne Cleary

Research Fellow

Institute for Social Science Research
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
anne.cleary@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51763

Overview

Anne is a transdisciplinary, mixed methods researcher with a focus on mental health and wellbeing promotion. Under this umbrella Anne has explored how people’s interactions and connection with nature relates to their psychological wellbeing as well as their attitudes and behaviours towards the environment. Anne has researched the role of nature-based interventions (Green Gyms, Care Farms) as part of social prescribing within mental health care. Anne has investigated the effectiveness of urban green space interventions for delivering social, health, environmental and equity outcomes.

Anne's research insterests include:

  • An overarching research focus is on mental health and wellbeing promotion.
  • Designing and evaluating nature-based interventions for health and wellbeing.
  • Understanding the role of nature in delivering healthy and sustainable urban environments.
  • Understanding the relationship between nature connection and wellbeing across the life-course

Research Interests

  • Nature-based interventions for health and wellbeing
    Understanding how to design and deliver nature-based interventions that promote mental health and wellbeing.
  • Urban green space and health and wellbeing
    Understanding how to design and deliver urban nature within our cities to promote health and wellbeing.
  • Participatory research methods and co-design approaches
    Using participatory research methods to understand and co-design solutions within public and mental health.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Griffith University

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Nature connection refers to an individual's personal relationship with nature and captures the subjective sense of the cognitive, affective and experiential relationship that an individual has with nature. Higher levels of nature connection have been shown to be associated with greater reporting of pro-environmental behaviour and attitudes, as well as greater self-reported psychological wellbeing. As such, there are an increasing number of programs and initiatives that aim to increase nature connection among individuals. This research aims to explore the effectiveness of such programs in increasing nature connection, as well as how this effectiveness might vary across individuals of different ages, social and cultural contexts, and of different levels of prior experience in contact with nature.

  • Nature-based interventions are increasingly recognised within the health sector as a viable option for supporting mental health and wellbeing. Nature-based interventions are diverse and can be adapted to different individual needs and contexts as well as administered at different doses (durations and frequencies) and locations. Nature-based interventions, also known as green care or ecotherapy, provide facilitated nature experiences for individuals or groups with the aim of promoting health and wellbeing. Nature-based interventions can be delivered through a variety of means, including environmental conservation activities, animal assisted therapy, care farming, therapeutic horticulture, community and domestic gardens, bush adventure therapy, forest bathing, mindfulness in nature and both green exercise (e.g. forest walks) and blue exercise (e.g. surfing). However, understanding of what nature-based interventions to deliver for whom and in what circumstances remains unclear. This PhD research will explore approaches for designing and delivering nature-based interventions that are fit-for-purpose for the needs and contexts of the participant. Co-design, participatory research methods will be used.

  • Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. While certain physical health impacts of climate change are well understood, for example heat-related morbidity and mortality, the acute and chronic mental health impacts of climate change remain poorly understood. Depressive and anxiety disorders are already some of the largest contributors to global disability. Failing to adequately consider the climate change implications on mental health could further exacerbate and accelerate growing global trends in mental ill-health.

    The many varied links between climate change and mental health, which are highly socially and economically mediated, raise challenges in the understanding, operationalisation and measurement of these complex relationships. This impedes our understanding of how to design and deliver effective interventions that reduce the mental health impacts of climate change and secure community social and emotional wellbeing. This PhD research will address these gaps through exploring the development of interventions that aim to mitigate the mental health impacts of climate change.

    This PhD research will be conducted in partnership with the UQ Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Climate Change Network and supervised by Associate Professor Fiona Charlson, School of Public Health, and by Dr Anne Cleary, Institute for Social Science Research.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Hunter, Ruth F., Cleary, Anne and Braubach, Matthias (2019). Environmental, health and equity effects of urban green space interventions. Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change. (pp. 381-409) edited by Melissa R. Marselle, Jutta Stadler, Horst Korn, Katherine N. Irvine and Aletta Bonn. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-02318-8_17

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Nature connection refers to an individual's personal relationship with nature and captures the subjective sense of the cognitive, affective and experiential relationship that an individual has with nature. Higher levels of nature connection have been shown to be associated with greater reporting of pro-environmental behaviour and attitudes, as well as greater self-reported psychological wellbeing. As such, there are an increasing number of programs and initiatives that aim to increase nature connection among individuals. This research aims to explore the effectiveness of such programs in increasing nature connection, as well as how this effectiveness might vary across individuals of different ages, social and cultural contexts, and of different levels of prior experience in contact with nature.

  • Nature-based interventions are increasingly recognised within the health sector as a viable option for supporting mental health and wellbeing. Nature-based interventions are diverse and can be adapted to different individual needs and contexts as well as administered at different doses (durations and frequencies) and locations. Nature-based interventions, also known as green care or ecotherapy, provide facilitated nature experiences for individuals or groups with the aim of promoting health and wellbeing. Nature-based interventions can be delivered through a variety of means, including environmental conservation activities, animal assisted therapy, care farming, therapeutic horticulture, community and domestic gardens, bush adventure therapy, forest bathing, mindfulness in nature and both green exercise (e.g. forest walks) and blue exercise (e.g. surfing). However, understanding of what nature-based interventions to deliver for whom and in what circumstances remains unclear. This PhD research will explore approaches for designing and delivering nature-based interventions that are fit-for-purpose for the needs and contexts of the participant. Co-design, participatory research methods will be used.

  • Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. While certain physical health impacts of climate change are well understood, for example heat-related morbidity and mortality, the acute and chronic mental health impacts of climate change remain poorly understood. Depressive and anxiety disorders are already some of the largest contributors to global disability. Failing to adequately consider the climate change implications on mental health could further exacerbate and accelerate growing global trends in mental ill-health.

    The many varied links between climate change and mental health, which are highly socially and economically mediated, raise challenges in the understanding, operationalisation and measurement of these complex relationships. This impedes our understanding of how to design and deliver effective interventions that reduce the mental health impacts of climate change and secure community social and emotional wellbeing. This PhD research will address these gaps through exploring the development of interventions that aim to mitigate the mental health impacts of climate change.

    This PhD research will be conducted in partnership with the UQ Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Climate Change Network and supervised by Associate Professor Fiona Charlson, School of Public Health, and by Dr Anne Cleary, Institute for Social Science Research.