The role of long-term participation in a fly-fishing program for veterans




mental health, veterans, recreational therapy, fly-fishing


Objective: This study attempts to determine if long-term participation of veterans in a fly-fishing program, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc. (PHWFF), decreases post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and perceived stress in its participants. Additionally, this study seeks to understand the benefits of this fly-fishing program. Design: This was a convergent parallel mixed-methods study.

Setting: The setting included participants from PHWFF.

Participants: There were a total of 117 participants from PHWFF in this study.

Measures: The measures in this study were the PTSD checklist: Military Version, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, the Beck’s Depression Inventory, the Perceived Stress Scale, and one qualitative question.

Results: It was found that there were decreases in PTSD, anxiety, depression, and perceived stress, with stress being statistically significant (p < .05). In the analysis of the qualitative question, three themes were identified: a source of emotional and physical healing, companionship, and altruism.

Conclusions: A fly-fishing program can be a viable modality for alleviating combat-related trauma in veterans.

Author Biography

Craig A. Stern, MSW, LSW, DSW

Adjunct Instructor, Human Services & Sociology, San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico


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How to Cite

Stern, MSW, LSW, DSW, C. A. (2022). The role of long-term participation in a fly-fishing program for veterans. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 21(4), 7–16.