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Adventure Therapy with Girls At-Risk: Responses to Outdoor Experiential Activities

Cari E. Autry


The purpose of this interpretive study was to explore the feelings, attitudes, and perceptions of girls at-risk following their participation in outdoor experiential activities in the context of adventure therapy. The experiential activities included 4-day backpacking trips and high and low ropes course initiatives. The girls resided in a same-gender outdoor-based psychiatric rehabilitation facility. In-depth interviews were conducted and the qualitative data were analyzed through constant comparison. Nine girls between the ages of 13 and 18 participated in the study. Four major themes encompassing perceptions of trust, empowerment, teamwork, and the recognition of personal value were constructed from the data. Practical and theoretical implications for therapeutic recreation include concepts surrounding issues of empowerment and constructivism.


Adventure Therapy, Experiential Activities, Girls At-Risk, Qualitative Research

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