Appearance Wood Products and Psychological Well-Being

Jennifer Rice, Robert A. Kozak, Michael J. Meitner, David H. Cohen


The study of how people's psychological health and well-being can be connected to wood used in appearance applications is a new and relatively unexplored area of inquiry, despite strong theoretical support, intuitive reasoning, and a growing recognition of the importance of healthful living. This research attempted to better understand this phenomenon by mapping out people's perceptions of wood used in interior applications. Specifically, the aim of this exploratory study was to determine what types of environments appearance wood products can create and to gauge whether or not the use of these types of products could have positive impacts on people's emotional states. To that end, a total of 119 respondents from the Greater Vancouver Regional Area were asked to partake in a three-part experimental study, consisting of a q-sort exercise, personal interviews, and a self-administered survey. The findings suggest that people's response to wood is, for the most part, extremely positive, with subjects generally showing a strong preference for rooms containing many wood details. There also appears to be a strong belief that the use of wood can help to create healthful environments, and commonly evoked descriptors for wood rooms include "warm," "comfortable," "relaxing," "natural," and "inviting." The reasons underlying these findings are complex and further exploration rooted in the field of environmental psychology is warranted. However, the results of this study could have potentially far-reaching implications for manufacturers of appearance wood products seeking to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Specifically, these findings point to an opportunity to market wood in an entirely new and innovative manner with the inclusion of potential psychological benefits into the total product concept.


Appearance wood products;psychological health;well-being

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