A Profile of Outdoor Adventure Interventions for Young People in Australia


  • Daniel J. Bowen University of Canberra
  • James T. Neill University of Canberra
  • Ian R. Williams Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Royal Children's Hospital
  • Anita S. Mak University of Canberra
  • Nicholas B. Allen University of Oregon
  • Craig A. Olsson University of Melbourne




adolescence, adventure therapy, Australia, outdoor adventure interventions, youth development


In this study, we describe characteristics of outdoor adventure interventions (OAIs) that aim to address problem behaviors in young people in Australia. A national online survey was completed by 98 program leaders and 24 program managers. OAIs for youth in Australia are diverse, but typically incorporate several days in the outdoors, during which participants engage in adventure activities and group activities requiring teamwork, with intentional involvement of program leaders. The main outcomes, as perceived by staff, were recreation and personal and social development. OAIs appear to be well positioned to make a unique and valuable contribution to the development of young people, addressing their behavior problems and potentially supporting prevention and treatment of mental health problems. A more targeted, sector-wide study of adventure therapy programs in Australia is recommended to qualify and extend on the findings of this study. 






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