Sharing a New Foxhole With Friends: The Impact of Outdoor Recreation on Injured Military
Keywords:Coping, injured military, nature-based recreation, outdoor intervention, veterans
Tens of thousands of military returning from active duty manage combat- related injuries, including physical polytrauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These injuries are complex, and current treatments lack evidentiary support or are hindered by barriers such as poor compliance. Nontraditional treatments, such as outdoor recreation, may serve as accessory or alternative therapies. A phenomenological approach was used to understand participants’ perceived outcomes of participating in a four-day retreat consisting of outdoor gaming activities. Participants’ (n =10) descriptions were gathered through private interviews and prominent categories emerged during data analysis. Respondents’ comments indicated two overarching categories: development of a social community among participants, and personal growth and maintenance resulting from participation. The latter concept was further studied and coded into subcategories. Results suggest that nontraditional therapeutic interventions, such as hunting or outdoorsman activities, achieve immediate positive outcomes for participants. Further study is necessary to explore long-term impacts and the relative effects of gaming activities and a social environment.
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