Exploring Changes in Depression and Meaning in Life through River Rafting for Veterans with PTSD


  • Taylor Hooker Clemson University https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1267-1090
  • Susan McCool Clemson University
  • Sarah R. Fischer Clemson University
  • Deborah Tysor Clemson University
  • N. Qwynne Lackey SUNY Cortland




river-rafting, veterans with PTSD, depression, meaning in life, nature-based program


As part of a larger research program examining the impacts of nature-based experiences on veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, this study focused on changes in their depression and meaning in life after participating in a four-day river rafting experience. Results showed that there were statistically significant improvements over time for both depression scores and meaning in life scores. Results also indicated a weak statistically significant, negative association between depression and presence of meaning in life. The study’s results are useful for practitioners who may be considering nature-based programs for their clients, as well as researchers seeking to better understand the psychological health benefits of river rafting.



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