CHILDREN DEVELOPMENT AND WELL-BEING: A REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL STRESSORS IN CHILDREN PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT

Khaidzir Haji Ismail, Abdul Rahman Ahmad Badayai, K. Rubini Kulasingam

Abstract


This paper reviews the quality and characteristics of the physical environment upon children’s holistic development. Since children are primarily a large consumer of their physical environment, it is thus important to understand how the role of these physical structures and facilities influence their cognitive, emotional, social, physical development and behaviours. However, most of their needs are often ignored by relevant dominant groups, especially in planning and renewal processes of nature or built environments. Children’s usage of their physical environment does not only confine to the home, school, home yard or playground, but also the neighbourhood at large that can undoubtedly sustain or deprive their development. Researchers from the disciplines of developmental psychology and environmental sciences have tried to examine the effects and impact of the physical environment on children’s overall development. However, the studies present a major challenge due to scant empirical research that links the quality of the physical setting and human development. Research findings are however still conflicting in these areas and one needs to explore further to substantiate the previous findings. The theories proposed by Ulric Neisser (1980) and Jean Piaget (1971) stressed on the independent mobility for the development of cognitive representations in children as users of the physical environment. However, the theories failed to look at the role of the environment as a cyclic process. On the contrary, a theory proposed by J.J. Gibson (1977) offered a psychologically significant approach to estimate the qualities of different environmental properties. In this paper, the researchers will also focus on the risks factors pertaining to the environmental stressors such as outdoor children’s play behaviour, school performance setting, mental health, traffic and road safety, social relations and physical health

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