Utilizing Outdoor Adventure Therapy to Increase Hope and Well-Being Among Women at a Homeless Shelter


  • Christine L. Norton Texas State University School of Social Work https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6904-5010
  • Anita Tucker University of New Hampshire Department of Social Work
  • Annette Pelletier Moonridge Academy
  • Christie VanKanegan The University of New Hampshire Department of Social Work
  • Kayla Bogs Meridell Achievement Academy
  • Elise Foerster The University of New Hampshire Department of Social Work




Outdoor adventure therapy, homelessness, hope, well-being, women


Women experiencing homelessness have high levels of psychosocial distress related to complex trauma, barriers to mental health treatment, and social isolation. The HOPE Adventure Therapy program utilized outdoor adventure therapy to increase hope and well-being among women homeless shelter residents. Using the Hope Scale and the Outcome Rating Scale, this exploratory, quasi-experimental study measured differences in hope and well-being between women who did and did not participate in the HOPE Adventure Therapy program. Women who participated in adventure therapy reported significant improvements in social and interpersonal well-being. Additionally, higher attendance in adventure therapy predicted larger improvements in wellbeing for residents in a women’s shelter. Future studies can further explore outdoor adventure therapy and experiential interventions to address gaps in service for women experiencing homelessness.

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Author Biographies

Christine L. Norton, Texas State University School of Social Work

Dr. Norton is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Texas State University.

Anita Tucker, University of New Hampshire Department of Social Work

Dr. Tucker is a Full Professor of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire.

Annette Pelletier, Moonridge Academy

Annette Pelletier is a therapist at Moonridge Academy.

Christie VanKanegan, The University of New Hampshire Department of Social Work

Christie VanKanegan received her MSW from the University of New Hampshire.

Kayla Bogs, Meridell Achievement Academy

Kayla Bogs is a therapist at Meridell Achievement Academy.

Elise Foerster, The University of New Hampshire Department of Social Work

Elise Foerster received her MSW from the University of New Hampshire.


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