Older people who have extensive sea views from their homes have a much lower risk of developing depression, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
This is the first study to look at the separate effects of proximity to the coast and coastal sea views on mental health outcomes. The researchers used data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), an ongoing study of people over the age of 50, and Ordnance Survey Ireland.
They found that those with extensive sea views from their homes had a significantly lower risk of depression, even after other factors associated with lower risk were taken into account, such as age, socio-economic status and use of medication.
The research found that those who lived closer to the coast had a lower risk of depression than those who lived further away. However, the biggest difference was between those who had the most extensive sea views, and those who had no sea views at all, with the former having a much lower risk of depression.
The researchers suggested that the findings show that sea views, rather than proximity to the sea, provide mental health benefits to older people.
"These findings underlie the public health benefits of policies to protect and enhance coastal blue spaces, and suggest that urban planning should take these benefits into account," commented Anne Nolan of the ESRI.
The research, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, can be viewed here