A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study

Kuo, Frances E. and Andrea Faber Taylor

Objectives. We examined the impact of relatively "green" or natural settings on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms across diverse subpopulations of children.  

Methods. Parents nationwide rated the aftereffects of 49 common after-school and weekend activities on children's symptoms. Aftereffects were compared for activities conducted in green outdoor settings versus those conducted in both built outdoor and indoor settings.  

Results. In this national, nonprobability sample, green outdoor activities reduced symptoms significantly more than did activities conducted in other settings, even when activities were matched across settings. Findings were consistent across age, gender, and income groups; community types; geographic regions; and diagnoses.  

Conclusions. Green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children across a wide range of individual, residential, and case characteristics. 

Frances E. Kuo is with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Andrea Faber Taylor is with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Correspondence: Requests for reprints should be sent to Frances E. Kuo, PhD, Human Environment Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1103 S Dorner Dr, Urbana, IL 61801 (e-mail: fekuo@uiuc.edu).


Subject Area
  • physical education, outdoor recreation
Delivery Area
  • out of school time/after school
Participant Area
  • student
Age Area
  • elementary (6-11 years old)
  • middle school (12-14 years old)