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Promoting Adolescent Health and Well-Being Through Outdoor Youth Programs: Results From a Multisite Australian Study

Lauren Rose, Ian R. Williams, Craig A. Olsson, Nicholas B. Allen


The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which participation in structured outdoor programs is associated with improvements in adolescent health and well-being. Students (n = 160) were recruited from three secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. Adolescents completed online surveys 3 weeks before camp (Time 1), 1 week before camp (Time 2), and 1 week after camp (Time 3). Positive changes were observed on some indicators of emotional well-being (fear and self-efficacy), as well as peer and school connectedness. No camp effects were found for depression, aggression, well-being, friend connectedness, teacher connectedness, and nature connectedness. Results support the view that structured outdoor programs may have a beneficial effect on well-being. However, effects were not ubiquitous (they were domain specific), which warrants further investigation. 

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Australia; outdoor youth programs; well-being; adolescent; methodology

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