Adventure Therapy

Adventure Therapy - Research

James Neill
Last updated:
10 May 2006


In a recent meta-analysis of 17 adventure therapy outcome studies, there was a moderate overall effect size of .42.  This is roughly equivalent to the effects of other group-based psychological intervention programs (Staunton, 2003).

Before generalizing these findings, however, it is important to recognize that a wide variety of adventure therapy programs exist, some good, some poor, at least partly due to diverse philosophies, locations, methods, staff qualifications, and clientele.

At the very least, however, the findings to date indicate that adventure therapy is a promising methodology, particular for dealing with several different kinds of psychological problem, including self-identity issues, behavioral problems, family problems.

Relatively little research exists on the effects of specific types of adventure therapy programs on specific types of disorders, and there is a notable lack of research about ways of integrating adventure therapy with other interventions.


Recommended Articles

  • Bibliography of adventure therapy publications
    Moore and Russell (2002) provide an indepth bibliography and categorization of existing academic adventure therapy literature.
  • Literature review of adventure therapy outcomes
    Neill (2003) suggests some benchmarks against which to evaluate the effectiveness of adventure therapy programs, using empirical pre-post-followup measures of psychosocial and life skill.  This article also provides comparisons between the effects of adventure therapy and other forms of psychological intervention.  This literature review has hyperlinks to many downloadable adventure therapy research articles.
  • Wilson and Lipsey's (2000) meta-analysis of adventure programs with delinquent youth.