Mapping interior environment and integrated health systems research using the psychoneuroimmunological (PNI) model

Suresh, Mini (2007) Mapping interior environment and integrated health systems research using the psychoneuroimmunological (PNI) model. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study maps research concerning person environment interrelationships with

health and wellbeing outcomes. The purpose of this study is to provide insights into

the inter-relationship between the built environment (BE) and human health and

wellbeing as it is conveyed in research literature. It particularly focuses on literature

that connects built environment, emotions, feelings, mind and body. This thesis

therefore provides a review of relevant literature on the physical environment, with a

focus on person environment (PE) relationship that may influence the person's

psychological and physiological systems consequently affecting health and

wellbeing. Specifically, psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is used to identify

dimensions of the BE which are significant for this study.

The understanding of PE interrelationships to health outcomes is achieved by

undertaking a transdisciplinary outlook. To conceptualise the 'person' as a whole and

the workings of the mind and human system PNI has been recognised as a main

platform. PNI is the study of mind-body relationships (Evans, et al, 2000), providing

a scientific framework which captures the understanding of the inter-relationship of

the mind to the neuroendocrine systems and the immune systems with the aim of

understanding the influence of the mind on eliciting as well as preventing illnesses.

The work was motivated by the need for better understanding of the human

interaction/transaction in an interior environment and their consequences on health.

An exploration of literature from both the environmental and health fields provided a

knowledge base upon which to develop an understanding of the interrelationship.

Research has demonstrated a link between the BE and wellbeing, however, this is

limited in its application and/or scope. For example, over the past years there has

been an increasing amount of research showing the possible influence of the

environment in reducing stress (Sommer & Oslen, 1980; Kaplan, 1983; O'Neill,

1991; Wapner & Demick, 2000; Parsons & Tassinary, 2002, Frumkin, 2006). In

addition, there is growing evidence that indicates there is a relationship between BE

and health including the psychological and physiological systems, in healthcare

environments (Ulrich & Zimring, 2004). However, while there is ample research in

the areas of environmental stressors and other determinants of the environment in contributing to health, less research has been undertaken in studying the impact of

the environment on health (Evans& McCoy, 1998). The potential of the environment

in contributing to the mental wellbeing of a person and how this could affect the

physical health therefore needs further investigation (Solomon, 1996).

The methodology followed was Coopers (1998) 'research synthesis' and the tool to

sort the domains and PE interrelationships was adapted from White's (1989) 'space

adjacency analysis'. The scope of this study was limited to explorations of literature

that inquired into PE relationships that fit into the primarily established 'integrative

systems model'; a parameter that enabled categorisation of the literature into the

areas that related to the PNI framework.

The findings illustrate that the person is interrelated to the environment in several

ways and can be interpreted and explained in terms of various dimensions such as

the psychological, physical, social, and spatial dimensions. Furthermore,

empirical research indicates that the environment impacts on a person's health and

wellbeing through psychological and physiological systems. PNI

acknowledges the interrelationship of the mind and body systems contributing to an

integrative systems model of human health and wellbeing.

As an outcome, the study has produced an analysis method and a navigation map of

the various literature domains related to PE interrelationships in terms of health and

wellbeing. This has been facilitated by the development of, a 'PE integrative systems

model'. Apart from demonstrating the need for transdisciplinary research and

contributing to research methodology, the study also adds to the current design

knowledge base providing BE professionals and creators with a better understanding

of the health outcomes from PE interrelationships.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

951 since deposited on 03 Dec 2008
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ID Code: 16414
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Franz, Jill & Smith, Dianne
Keywords: interior environment, built environment, physical environment, design, psychoneuroimmunology, health and wellbeing, mental wellbeing, physiological wellbeing, integrative systems, person environment interrelationship, space, place
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Department: Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Mini Suresh
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:03
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:47

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