The association of park use and park perception with quality of life using structural equation modeling

Hanish P. Kodali, Emily B. Ferris, Katarzyna Wyka, Kelly R. Evenson, Joan M. Dorn, Lorna E. Thorpe, Terry T.K. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The literature is limited on the impact of neighborhood parks on quality of life (QoL) and the mechanism linking them. Methods: In this paper, we applied the structural equation model to data from a cross-sectional sample of 650 participants in low-income communities of New York City, we examined the associations of neighborhood park use vs. park perception and QoL, and whether these associations were mediated through self-reported perceived stress. We also examined whether park use mediated the relationship between park perception and QoL. Results: We found that park use had a significant but weak association with QoL (standardized β = 0.08, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.02, 0.15, p = 0.02), but this relationship was not mediated by self-reported stress. Park perception was more strongly associated with QoL than park use (standardized β = 0.23, 95% CI: 0.16, 0.30, p < 0.01), and this was partly mediated by self-reported stress (indirect effect- standardized β = 0.08, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.13, p < 0.01) and, to a lesser extent, by park use (indirect effect- standardized β = 0.01, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.02, p = 0.01). Discussion: Having well-perceived parks appears to be an important factor for QoL independent of park use, suggesting that quality parks may benefit everyone in a community beyond park users. This strengthens the argument in favor of increasing park investment as a strategy to improve population wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1038288
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Jan 25 2023


  • New York City
  • built environment
  • low-income neighborhoods
  • park use
  • perceived stress
  • perception of neighborhood park
  • quality of life
  • structural equation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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