The Effect of a Residential Camp Experience on Self Esteem and Social Acceptance of Youth with Craniofacial Differences


  • Mary Ann Devine
  • Shay Dawson


Craniofacial differences, residential camp, self-esteem, social acceptance, therapeutic recreation, youth with disabilities


Children and adolescents with significant disabilities have often been at greater risk for lower self-esteem than their peers with mild-moderate disabilities or those without disabilities. This is particularly true for individuals who have disabilities such as craniofacial difference (CD; Tiemens, Beveridge, & Nicholas, 2007). Furthermore, difficulties with social acceptance may be more common among children with craniofacial differences (Pope & Snyder, 2003). This article explores the impact of a week long summer camp specifically for children and adolescents with CD on their self-esteem. The Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (1965) and a single item indicator of social acceptance were administered to 31 youth prior to, at the conclusion of, and 6-8 weeks after a 5 day residential camping experience. Results indicated that the campers demonstrated significant gains in self-esteem and social acceptance by the end of the week, but the gains for both variables had dissipated 6-8 weeks later. It is recommended that therapeutic recreation specialists use a multi-dimensional approach to address self-esteem and social acceptance among youth with stigmatizing disabilities.





Research Papers