Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The salutogenic role of the environment in maintaining and enhancing well-being.

Henry, Elizabeth (2021) The salutogenic role of the environment in maintaining and enhancing well-being. Doctoral thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The impact of place on human well-being is a core theme within Environmental Psychology. Research on the positive effects of place has typically focussed on how specific types of place such as green or natural environments restore individuals who are depleted in physical or psychological resources in some way. The current research offers a contrasting but complementary position to this existing body of research. The primary aim was to explore the range of places that have the potential to provide well-being benefits to well (i.e., not depleted) individuals. This approach shifts the emphasis from a focus on narrow categorisation of place and from a restoration (pathogenic) to a health-promotion (salutogenic) narrative of place/well-being relationships. The research was grounded in the Person Place Process theoretical framework (Scannell & Gifford, 2010) and draws on theories of well-being (Keyes, 1998) and behaviour (COM-B; Michie et al., 2011). Further aims of the research were to consider how an individual’s relationship to place and barriers they could experience accessing place, impact multiple well-being outcomes. The findings have implications for place-related health-seeking behaviour and social prescribing. The research employed a mixed-methods approach utilising semi-structured interviews and online surveys. The interviews in Study 1 (N = 20) used an inductive approach, generating rich, nuanced data relating to place/well-being relationships. The aim of Study 1 was to investigate the relationships people had with places they felt positively impacted their well-being. Initial conclusions from this first study indicated that the range of places people selected were diverse will well-being outcomes moving beyond positive affect to eudaimonic and social aspects of well-being and were used to explore theoretical frameworks for well-being, place attachment and place related behaviour. These findings informed the design of two online survey studies (N = 289) and (N = 530). The surveys employed a range of items and measures relating to place/well-being relationships. Study 2 was an exploratory study with the aim of investigating whether the experiences reflected on by participants in study 1 were common to a wider sample and the findings helped clarify the theoretical understanding of characteristics of place, aspects of well-being, and person-place relationships. Study 3 built on the previous two studies and the findings indicated participants associated a wide range of places with varied, positive well-being outcomes and that place attachment and behavioural determinants of access to place, also impact on this relationship. Whilst the results did indicate that place characteristics and types impacted differentially on aspects of perceived well-being, differences by these factors were marginal. The findings across the 3 studies emphasised the range of places with the potential for health promotion, the importance of understanding place/well-being relationships, and how behavioural barriers/facilitators impact access to these places. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of how people relate and access the full range of places that support well-being, including the implications for theories of place attachment (Person, Place Process model). The conclusion is drawn that the complexity of person-place relationship is beyond the scope of single models and requires a flexible approach that focuses on individual experiences of, and relationships with, place. The implications for well-being and behaviour (COM-B) are discussed in terms of suggestions for interventions that utilise salutogenic potential of place.

Elizabeth Henry Thesis June 22pdf.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3MB) | Preview
[img] Plain Text
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (56kB) | Request a copy

More Information

Depositing User: Unnamed user with email


Item ID: 15447

Users with ORCIDS

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2022 11:18
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 06:49


Author: Elizabeth Henry

University Divisions

Collections > Theses



Actions (login required)

View Item View Item