Date of Award

2005

Level of Access

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

Advisor

Dorothy Breen

Second Committee Member

William Davis

Third Committee Member

Sandra Caron

Abstract

This study involved an examination of the scope and variety of adventure therapy services that are currently being offered by mental health agencies within the state of Maine. A review of related literature has shown that there were a number of closely related therapeutic modalities which could be subsumed by the tam adventure therapy and an operational definition was proposed. The statistical conclusions of the study were compiled fiom the data collected by the use of a survey instrument which was designed and pilot tested before being mailed to 191 agencies and 56 responses were returned. Results of this survey were used to investigate the relationships between the types of mental health services being provided, the varieties of diagnosed populations being served, and the factors that either promoted or impeded the offering of adventure therapy programs. In this study, 33.9% of the agencies were offering adventure therapy services and that the majority of agencies that were not offering these services referred their clients out for them. The uses of descriptive as well as inferential statistics were employed in order to plot the frequency distributions and relative proportions of several important qualitative variables and to allow the analysis of specific relationships among these variables. In this study, factors that influenced the likelihood of offering this kind of therapy were explored. Among the variables which were investigated were psychotherapists' perceptions of the utility of adventure therapy programs, the agency's access to required financial resources, and the availability of appropriately trained staff who possessed the technical skills necessary to conduct adventure therapy programs. The findings of this study provided information about the extent of adventure therapy programs throughout Maine. This information will be valuable to mental health clinicians, social service caseworkers, and family members interested in either making or requesting referrals to those agencies offering adventure therapy services. The methodological contribution of a new survey instrument together with the development of an operational definition of the term adventure therapy will also allow subsequent researchers to conduct more empirical studies into the efficacy of this therapeutic modality.

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