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

Christine L. Norton, Anita Tucker, Annette Pelletier, Christie VanKanegan, Kayla Bogs, Elise Foerster


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

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