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White water kayaking, positive affect, and perceived self-awareness: A case study of a veteran of the Vietnam era

Kristen Hartman, MS, CTRS, Heather Porter, PhD, CTRS


Veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and the Vietnam era have sustained multiple injuries and disabilities as a result of their service, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression. The use of outdoor recreation as a therapeutic modality for civilians with TBI has been found to correlate with greater self-awareness and positive affect, however, scarce literature exists regarding its use and outcomes for veterans. To explore this, a veteran from the Vietnam era reporting a history of depression who is involved with a white water kayaking group completed a series of surveys designed to measure its effect on perceived self-awareness and positive affect. The case study reported that involvement with the white water kayaking group improved his perceived self-awareness. The case study also reported the highest positive affect and lowest negative affect immediately after traveling down the river during a white water kayaking river trip. More research in this area is needed.


outdoor, recreation, recreational therapy, self-awareness, positive affect

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