People who regularly have a good view the sea are less likely to suffer from depression as they get older, according to new research.
The Economic and Social Research Institute in Ireland studied older people who were a depression risk and cross referenced them with a variety of factors.
One of the key factors they looked into was coastal proximity and views.
The research team looked at existing data from previous studies by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing and cross referenced it with data from the Ordnance Survey Ireland.
They were interested in how far each respondent lived from the coast and how extensive their sea views were.
From this, they were able to extract enough information to suggest living closer to the sea helped people to avoid depression as they got older.
Their report was called ‘Coastal blue space and depression in older adults’.
It stated: “Living closer to the coast was found to be associated with a lower risk of depression. In addition, those whose residence had the highest share of sea view had lower depression scores.
“However, when distance to the coast and sea view share are examined together, only the individuals in the highest category for share of coastal views show a significantly lower risk of depression than those with no views.”
The study is the first to separate the proximity to the coast and the actual view of the coast.
The results show the importance a view can have on mental health even when other factors that might be associated with lower depression risk – such as age, gender, socio-economic status, use of medication and social engagement – had been taken into account.
The report added: “These findings are supportive of the view that the main way in which blue space benefits mental health among the older population is via the visual aspect, rather than proximity.
“However, the nature of our data means we cannot be certain that blue space is causing a reduction in depression risk: only that the association between them is consistent with the possibility of a beneficial effect.
Anne Nolan of the ESRI said: “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.”