Ethnic differences in environmental restoration: Arab and Jewish women in Israel

Diana Saadi, Izhak Schnell*, Emanuel Tirosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Throughout the last few decades, plenty of attention has been paid to restorative environments that positively affect human psychological health. These studies show that restorative environments affect human beings emotionally, physiologically, and cognitively. Some studies focus on the cognitive effects of exposure to restorative environments. A widely used index that measures the cognitive response is the Perceived Restoration Potential Scale (PRS). Most studies employing the PRS have examined differences in human cognitive response between types of urban environments mainly urban versus green ones. We use Hartig’s questionnaire to expose differences between types of urban environments and ethnic groups. Variances between Arab and Jewish women were calculated in four environments: home; park; residential and central city environments. The effect of intervening variables such as exposure to thermal, noise, social and CO loads and social discomfort were tested. We find that dissimilar to urban typical built-up environments, green areas are highly restorative. Furthermore, differences in the restorativeness of different urban environments are low though significant. These differences depend on their function, aesthetic qualities, and amount of greenery. Ethno-national differences appear to affect the experience of restoration. While both ethnic related groups experienced a tremendous sense of restoration in parks, Jewish women enjoyed slightly higher levels of restoration mainly at home and in residential environments compared to Arab women who experienced higher sense of restorativness in central city environments. Jewish women experienced higher sense of being away and fascination. From the intervening variables, social discomfort explained 68 percent of the experience of restoration, noise explained 49 percent, thermal load explained 43 percent and ethnicity 14 percent of the variance in PRS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12628
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Attention restoration theory
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Cognitive response to environmental nuisances
  • Perceived restoration scale


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