The social benefits of nature-based recreation for veterans: A scoping review
Keywords: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.
Snell FI, Halter MJ: A signature wound of war: Mild traumatic brain injury. J Psychosoc Nurs Mental Health Services. 2010; 48(2): 22-28. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20100107-01.
Tanielian T, Lisa J: Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. Santa Monica, California: RAND Corporation; 2008.
National Center for PTSD: How Common is PTSD in Veterans? 2018. Available at https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_veterans.asp. Accessed February 2, 2019.
van der Kolk B: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. New York: Penguin Books; 2014.
Herman J: Trauma and Recovery. New York: Basic Books; 2015.
Keniger LE, Gaston KJ, Irvine KN, et al.: What are the benefits of interacting with nature? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013; 10(3): 913-935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph10030913.
Richardson EA, Mitchell R: Gender differences in relationships between urban green space and health in the United Kingdom. Soc Sci Med. 2010; 71(3): 568-575. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.04.015.
Atchley RA, Strayer DL, Atchley P: Creativity in the wild: Improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings. PLoS One. 2012; 7(12): 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051474.
Bielinis, E, Takayama, N, Boiko, S, Omelan, A, Bielinis, L. The effect of winter forest bathing on psychological relaxation of young Polish adults. Urban Forestry Urban Greening. 2018; 29: 276-283. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.12.006.
Gustafsson PE, Szczepanski A, Nelson N, et al.: Effects of an outdoor education intervention on the mental health of schoolchildren. J Adv Educ Outdoor Learn. 2012; 12(1): 63-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/14729679.2010.532994.
Boyes M: Outdoor adventure and successful ageing. Age Soc. 2013; 33(4): 644-665. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X12000165.
Cacioppo JT, Cacioppo S, Boomsma DI: Evolutionary mechanisms for loneliness. Cognition Emotion. 2014; 28(1): 3-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2013.837379.
Christakis N, James F: Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives—How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. New York: Hachette Book Group; 2011.
Shinew KJ, Glover TD, Parry DC: Leisure spaces as potential sites for interracial interaction: Community gardens in urban areas. J Leisure Res. 2004; 36(3): 336-355. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222216.2004.11950027.
Rogers SD, Loy D, Brown-Bochicchio C: Sharing a new foxhole with friends: The impact of outdoor recreation on injured military. Ther Recreation J. 2016; 50(3): 213-227. https://doi.org/10.18666/TRJ-2016-V50-I3-2837.
Gillespie H, Kelly M, Duggan S, et al.: How do patients experience caring? Scoping review. Patient Educ Counsel. 2017; 100(9): 1622-1633. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2017.03.029.
Moher D, Shamseer L, Clarke M, et al.: Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Syst Rev. 2015; 4(1): 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/2046-4053-4-1.
Gülaçt, F: The effect of perceived social support on subjective well-being. Proc Soc Behav Sci. 2010; 2: 3844-3849. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.602.
Jenkins J, John P: Encyclopedia of Leisure and Outdoor Recreation. New York: Routledge; 2003.
Patterson PG, Mattila AS: An examination of the impact of cultural orientation and familiarity in service encounter evaluations. Int J Serv Ind Manage. 2008; 19(5): 662-681. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564230810903514.
Zajchowski CAB, Brownlee MTJ, Rose J: Air quality and the visitor experience in parks and protected areas. Tourism Geographies. 2018; 21: 1-23. http://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2018.1522546.
Smith S: Age Limits Within Military Service Branches. 2019. Available at https://www.thebalancecareers.com/us-military-enlistment-standards-3354001. Accessed March 24, 2019.
Ulrich RS: View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 1984; 224(4647): 420–421.
Bell SL, Foley R, Houghton F, et al.: From therapeutic landscapes to healthy spaces, places and practices: A scoping review. Soc Sci Med. 2018; 196: 123-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.035.
Covidence: Better Systematic Review Management. 2019. Available at https://www.covidence.org/home. Accessed January 13, 2019.
Soga M, Cox DTC, Yamaura Y, et al.: Health benefits of urban allotment gardening: Improved physical and psychological well-being and social integration. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017; 14(1): 71. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010071.
Bell S, Westley M, Lovell R, et al.: Everyday green space and experienced well-being: The significance of wildlife encounters. Landscape Res. 2018; 43(1): 8-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2016.1267721.
Lundberg N, Taniguchi S, McGovern R, et al.: Female veterans’ involvement in outdoor sports and recreation: A theoretical sample of recreation opportunity structures. J Leisure Res. 2016; 48(5): 413-430. https://doi.org/10.18666/JLR-2016-V48-I5-6897.
Dawson S, Liddicoat K: “Camp gives me hope”: Exploring the therapeutic use of community for adults with cerebral palsy. Ther Recreation J. 2009; 43(4): 9-24. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a53594.
Anderson L, Schleien SJ, McAvoy L, et al.: Creating positive change through an integrated outdoor adventure program. Ther Recreation J. 1997; 31(4): 214-229.
Bloemhoff HJ: Impact of one-day adventure-based experiential learning (AEL) programme on life effectiveness skills of adult learners. South Afr J Res Sport, Phys Educ Recreation. 2016; 38(2): 27-35.
Bricker KS, Kerstetter DL: An interpretation of special place meanings whitewater recreationists attach to the South Fork of the American River. Tourism Geographies. 2002; 4(4): 396-425. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616680210158146.
Bidell MP: Can nature heal?: The impact of adventure-based counseling for gay/bisexual men living with HIV/AIDS. Counseling Outcome Res Eval. 2010; 1(2): 68-79. https://doi.org/10.1177/2150137810367801.
Caddick N, Smith B, Phoenix C: The effects of surfing and the natural environment on the well-being of combat veterans. Qual Health Res. 2015; 25(1): 76-86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732314549477.
Wallace KG, Graham KM, Wonch D: Camp fresh horizons: An innovative wellness experience for patients with cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 1993; 20(9): 1369-1373.
Martin B, Groff D, Battaglini C: Negotiating the cancer experience through challenge course programming. Ther Recreation J. 2014; 48(3): 211-228.
Human L: Adventure-based experiences during professional training in psychology: A follow-up study. South Afr J Psychol. 2012; 42(4): 586-597.
Quezada RL, Christopherson RW: Adventure-based service learning: University students’ self-reflection accounts of service with children. J Exp Educ. 2005; 28(1): 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1177/105382590502800103.
Kelley MP, Coursey RD, Selby PM: Therapeutic adventures outdoors: A demonstration of benefits for people with mental illness. Psychiatric Rehabil J. 1997; 20(4): 61-73.
Duvall J, Kaplan R: Enhancing the well-being of veterans using extended group-based nature recreation experiences. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2014; 51(5): 685-696.
Eikenæs I, Gude T, Hoffart A: Integrated wilderness therapy for avoidant personality disorder. Nordic J Psychiatry. 2006; 60(4): 275-281. https://doi.org/10.1080/08039480600790093.
Gatzemann T, Schweizer K, Hummel A: Effectiveness of sports activities with an orientation on experiential education, adventure-based learning and outdoor-education. Kinesiology. 2008; 40(2): 146-152.
Hoag MJ, Massey, KE, Roberts SD, et al.: Efficacy of wilderness therapy for young adults: A first look. Resid Treat Children Youth. 2013; 30(4): 294–305. https://doi.org/10.1080/0886571X.2013.852452.
Cooley SJ, Burns VE, Cumming J: Using outdoor adventure education to develop students’ groupwork skills: A quantitative exploration of reaction and learning. J Exp Educ. 2016; 39(4): 329-354. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053825916668899.
Gelkopf M, Hasson-Ohayon I, Bikman M, et al.: Nature adventure rehabilitation for combat-related posttraumatic chronic stress disorder: A randomized control trial. Psychiatry Res. 2013; 209(3): 485-493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2013.01.026.
Lundberg, N, Bennett, J, Smith, S: Outcomes of adaptive sports and recreation participation among veterans returning from combat. Ther Recreation J. 2011; 45(2): 105-120.
Lindenmeier DK, Long TD, Robertson TP: The effect of manipulating aspects of challenge course facilitation on participant perceived benefits. LARNet Cyber J Appl Leisure Recreation Res. 2004. Available at http://larnet.org/2004-02.html. Accessed December 14, 2020.
Zebrack B, Kwak M, Sundstrom L: First descents, an adventure program for young adults with cancer: Who benefits? Supportive Care Cancer. 2017; 25(12): 3665-3673. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3792-7.
Bennett J, Lundberg NR, Zabriskie R, et al.: Addressing posttraumatic stress among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and significant others: An intervention utilizing sport and recreation. Ther Recreation J. 2014; 48(1): 74-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090560310487121.
Hickmon, WAJ, Protinsky, HO, Singh, K: Increasing marital intimacy: Lessons from marital enrichment. Contem Fam Ther: Int J. 1997; 19(4): 581-589. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026191223476.
Bryson J, Feinstein J, Spavor J, et al.: An examination of the feasibility of adventure-based therapy in outpatient care for individuals with psychosis. Can J Commun Mental Health. 2013; 32(2): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.7870/cjcmh-2013-015.
Greffrath G, Meyer C, Strydom H, et al.: Centre-based and expedition-based (wilderness) adventure experiential learning regarding personal effectiveness: An explorative enquiry. Leisure Stud. 2011; 30(3): 345-364. https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2011.552623.
Harper NJ, Norris J, D’astous M: Veterans and the outward bound experience: An evaluation of impact and meaning. Ecopsychology. 2014; 6(3): 165-173.
McAvoy L, Smith JG, Rynders JE: Outdoor adventure programming for individuals with cognitive disabilities who present serious accommodation challenges. Ther Recreation J. 2006; 40(3): 182-199.
Woodford KM, Fenton L, Connors J: A change of scenery: wilderness therapy treatment for inpatients in acute care. Ther Recreation J. 2017; 51(4): 258-273.
Breunig MC, O’Connell TS, Todd S, et al.: The impact of outdoor pursuits on college students’ perceived sense of community. J Leisure Res. 2010; 42(4): 551-572.
Gordon B, Dodunski R: Study of the effect of an outdoor education experience on students perceptions of their peers. J Phys Educ New Zealand. 1999; 32(2): 16-18.
Jakubec SL, Carruthers Den Hoed D, Ray H, et al.: Mental well-being and quality-of-life benefits of inclusion in nature for adults with disabilities and their caregivers. Landscape Res. 2016; 41(6), 616-627. https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2016.1197190.
Mapes, N. Have you been down to the woods today? Working with Older People. 2012; 16(1): 7-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/13663661211215105.
Norton CL, Tucker AR: New heights: Adventure-based groupwork in social work education and practice. Groupwork: Interdiscip J Working Groups. 2010; 20(2): 24-44. https://doi.org/10.1921/095182410X551694.
Warber SL, Dehudy AA, Bialko MF, et al.: Addressing “nature-deficit disorder”: A mixed methods pilot study of young adults attending a wilderness camp. Evidence-Based Complementary Altern Med. 2015; 2015: 651827. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/651827.
Bird K: Research evaluation of an Australian peer outdoor support therapy program for contemporary veterans’ wellbeing. Int J Mental Health. 2015; 44(1-2): 46-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207411.2015.1009752.
Hawkins BL, Townsend JA, Heath S, et al.: The preliminary effects of a recreation-based military family camp on family functioning. Am J Recreation Ther. 2018; 17(4): 15-24. https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2018.0164.
Garst BA, Williams DR, Roggenbuck JW: Exploring early twenty-first century developed forest camping experiences and meanings. Leisure Sci. 2010; 32(1): 90-107. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400903430905.
Sasseville M, Chouinard MC, Fortin M: Patient-reported outcomes in multimorbidity intervention research: A scoping review. Int J Nurs Stud. 2018; 77: 145-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2017.09.016.
Adams M, Morgan J: Mental health recovery and nature: How social and personal dynamics are important. Ecopsychology. 2018; 10(1): 44-52. doi:10.1089/eco.2017.0032.
Aubrey A, MacLeod MJ: So ... what does rock climbing have to do with career planning? Women Ther. 1994; 15: 3-4, 205-216. doi:10.1300/J015v15n03_16.
Chesler NC, Single PB, Mikic B: Peer-mentoring and adventure education for women faculty in engineering. JEE. 2003; 92(3): 257-262.
Cooley SJ, Holland MJG, Cumming J, et al.: Introducing the use of a semi-structured video diary room to investigate students’ learning experiences during an outdoor adventure education groupwork skills course. High Educ. 2014; 67: 105–121. doi:10.1007/s10734-013-9645-5.
Dietrich ZC, Joye SW, Garcia JA: Natural medicine: Wilderness experience outcomes for combat veterans. J Exp Educ. 2015; 38(4): 394-406. doi:10.1177/1053825915596431.
Goodwin D, Peco J, Ginther N: Hiking excursions for persons with disabilities: Experiences of interdependence. Ther Rec J. 2009; 43(1): 43-55.
Johnson J, Chin JW: Seeking new glory (d)haze: A qualitative examination of adventure-based, team orientation rituals as an alternative to traditional sport hazing for athletes and coaches. Int J Sports Sci Coaching. 2016; 11(3): 1-15.
Mowatt RA, Bennett J: War narratives: Veteran stories, PTSD effects, and therapeutic fly-fising. Ther Rec J. 2011; 45(4): 286-308.
Mykletun RJ, Mazza L: Psychosocial benefits from participating in an adventure expedition race. Sport Bus Manag. 2016; 6(5): 542-564. doi:10.1108/SBM-09-2016-0047.
Schwartz GM, Campagna J: New meaning for the emotional state of the elderly, from a leisure standpoint. Leisure Stud. 2008; 27(2): 207-211. doi:10.1080/02614360801902232.
Stuhr PT, Lecomte H, Sutherland S: A portrait of social and emotional learning within Sequoia National Park. J Outdoor Rec Educ Leadersh. 2017; 9(4): 403-424. doi:10.18666/JOREL-2017-V9-I4-8128.
Wilson NW, Fleming S, Jones R, et al.: Green shoots of recovery: The impact of a mental health ecotherapy programme. Ment Health Rev J. 2010; 15(2): 4-14. doi:10.5042/mhrj.2010.0366.
Banaka WH, Young DW: Community coping skills enhanced by an adventure camp for adult chronic psychiatric patients. Hosp Commun Psychiatr. 1985; 36(7): 746-748.
Ng H: Adventure learning influence of collectivism on team and organizational attitudinal changes. J Manag Dev. 2001; 20(5): 424-440. doi:10.1108/02621710110395444.
Rosenberg RS, Lange W, Zebrack B, et al.: An outdoor adventure program for young adults with cancer: Positive effects on body image and psychosocial functioning. J Psychosoc Oncol. 2014; 32(5): 622-636. doi:10.1080/07347332.2014.936652.
Schary DP, Lewis AB, Cardinal BJ: Learning goals and the challenge course experience: An exploratory study. Rec Sports J. 2015; 39(1): 59-68. doi:10.1123/rsj.2014-0036.
Scherer MR, Gade DM, Tancosek KE: Efficacy of an adaptive kayaking intervention for improving health-related quality of life among wounded, ill, and injured service members. Am J Rec Ther. 2013; 12(3): 8-16. doi:10.5055/ajrt.2013.0048.
Wheeler S, Goldie J, Hicks C: Counsellor training: An evaluation of the effectiveness of a residential outdoor pursuits activity weekend on the personal development of trainee counsellors. Couns Psychol Q. 1998; 11(4): 391-405. doi:10.1080/09515079808254070.
Hatch KD, McCarthy CJ: Challenge course participation as a component of experiential groups for counselors in training. J Spec Group Work. 2003; 28(3): 199-214.
How to Cite
Copyright 2000-2023, Weston Medical Publishing, LLC
All Rights Reserved