The social benefits of nature-based recreation for veterans: A scoping review


  • Deborah A. Tysor, PhD, TRS, CTRS
  • Lauren Lee Isaacs, MS, TRS, CTRS
  • Kelly Bricker, PhD



veterans, nature-based recreation, social benefits


Veterans reintegrating into civilian life following military service often face a variety of social and psychological challenges that impact daily functioning and quality of life. Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with receiving supportive health services prevents many veterans from receiving assistance through traditional means. Others decline assistance out of a well-intentioned concern that using supportive resources will prevent other people with a greater need from receiving support. Also, researchers have found that the quality of a veteran’s social context, particularly regarding their perceptions of social support, are highly predictive of psychological wellbeing, including decreased vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and decreased risk of suicide. Ultimately, the pervasive nature of psychological and social challenges among returning veterans, combined with the barriers to quality care and critical importance of social support reinforces the need for nontraditional ways of enhancing social support among the veteran community. Therefore, the purpose of this scoping review is to explore the potential social benefits of nature-based recreation (NBR) for veterans. Findings will be used to support the belief that recreation therapists have the potential to address the social needs of veterans by providing a variety of nature-based recreational therapy (RT) services.

Author Biographies

Deborah A. Tysor, PhD, TRS, CTRS

Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Lauren Lee Isaacs, MS, TRS, CTRS

Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Kelly Bricker, PhD

Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah


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How to Cite

Tysor, PhD, TRS, CTRS, D. A., Isaacs, MS, TRS, CTRS, L. L., & Bricker, PhD, K. (2020). The social benefits of nature-based recreation for veterans: A scoping review. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 19(2), 15–33.




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