Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sean Doherty

Advisor Role



It is increasingly recognized that contact with nature in parks and other forms of protected areas provides benefits to visitors’ physical, mental, social, spiritual, and intellectual health and well-being. However, the methods used to assess these outcomes, including the influence of different environmental features that lead to these benefits, is under-researched. To address this gap, this study used a mixed methods design to explore the effectiveness of using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) and video to assess the impact of various park features on the self-perceived (subjective) health and well-being of visitors. Participants were prompted by a mobile application on their smartphone to complete an in-situ survey on their device each time they entered a pre-defined geofence location within Arrowhead Provincial Park, a protected area in Ontario, Canada, over a three-day period in the winter season. The survey included the Brief Emotional Experience Scale (BEES) to measure participants' mental well-being and a video question to assess which park features were impacting participants' perceptions of health and well-being. Participants also provided feedback about their experiences during the study via a study exit survey. The results of this pilot study provided evidence that using a video question with EMA has the potential to be effective in understanding the relationships between park features and health and well-being. This study revealed a high in-situ survey response rate and reasonable temporal and spatial latency. The results also provided evidence that using video was very effective at eliciting park features and visitor feelings of health and well-being as participants reported hundreds of features and feelings within their videos. However, the video was much less effective at eliciting a direct relationship between features and health and well-being. Based on the results of this study, methodological recommendations for using EMA and video in a park context are provided. These findings can help researchers further the understanding of the relationship between park features and health and well-being to better inform visitor planning and management in a protected area context.

Convocation Year


Available for download on Saturday, December 21, 2024