Family Enrichment Adventure Therapy: A Mixed Methods Study Examining the Impact of Trauma-Informed Adventure Therapy on Children and Families Affected by Abuse

Abstract

Child abuse is epidemic in the United States and has dire long-term consequences. Innovative interventions are needed to address the negative cognitive, affective and behavioral effects of child abuse. This mixed-method study examined if adventure therapy is 1) an effective mental health intervention for child and adolescent survivors of abuse and neglect, and 2) an effective intervention for families affected by abuse and neglect. The effectiveness of the adventure therapy intervention was measured by a reduction in child trauma symptoms and improved family functioning, as reported via the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC), the Family Assessment Device (FAD), as well as qualitative data gathered via family focus groups. Findings showed that trauma-informed adventure therapy with youth and families affected by abuse reduces trauma symptomology in youth and improves family functioning, particularly in the areas of communication, closeness and problem-solving skills.

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Correspondence to Christine Lynn Norton.

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Disclosure Statement

This statement provides transparent information about who funded the study and any potential conflicts of interest related to the study.

Funding

This study was funded by a Hogg Foundation Mental Health Research Grant.

Conflict of Interest

Authors D & E have worked for ChildSafe’s FEAT program as providers of counseling and adventure therapy services.

Additional information

The original version of this article was revised: The spelling of Federico Borroel's name was incorrect.

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Norton, C.L., Tucker, A., Farnham-Stratton, M. et al. Family Enrichment Adventure Therapy: A Mixed Methods Study Examining the Impact of Trauma-Informed Adventure Therapy on Children and Families Affected by Abuse. Journ Child Adol Trauma 12, 85–95 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-017-0133-4

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Keywords

  • Adventure therapy
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Child abuse
  • Multi-family groups