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Research in Therapeutic Recreation

Seppo E Iso-Ahola


The paper examines the state o fresearch in therapeutic recreation. Given that practitioners have been found to support research strongly, it is surprising that the volume of reported research continues to be relatively small, leading to many questions about research conducted in the field. The few empirical studies that have been reported have focused on persons with mental retardation, while most other special population groups have been studied infrequently. The phenomena or topic areas that have been studied are relatively few, with the most frequent ones being leisure needs, preferences, attitudes, patterns, skill acquisition, and community integration. At the same time, there  is little empirical documentation of fundamental questions about effects of recreation on the well-being of various special population groups. The survey has been the dominant methodology, although more experimental research has been attempted in this than other areas of leisure studies. Shot-gun investigations are typical and suggest the need for more programmatic research. A significant part of new knowledge  is created by researchers outside of therapeutic recreation.

Despite these problems, there are signs that important research questions are being

addressed and that the quality of research is improving. These include recent experiments

and the development of psychometrically respectable instruments. To advance research in

the field the establishment of a National Research Fund should be the highest priority.


Research, Therapeutic Recreation

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