An Exploration of Gender, Client History, and Functioning in Wilderness Therapy Participants


This article explored differences by gender in client mental health history, presenting issues, and current functioning among adolescents in wilderness therapy. The study used a random sample of 401 youth in wilderness therapy programs, utilizing data from archival psychological evaluations conducted during wilderness treatment. Results showed that females were more likely to have participated in outpatient treatment prior to a wilderness therapy program. Additionally, analysis indicated that females were more likely than males to participate in self-harming behaviors and suicide attempts. Males were more likely to have been significantly involved with criminal activity prior to treatment. Analysis provided a deeper understanding of the current population of wilderness therapy participants in an effort to inform current wilderness therapy practices. It is imperative for clinicians to have a better understanding of gender differences when considering wilderness therapy as a treatment option.


Social Work

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Residential Treatment for Children & Youth


Taylor & Francis

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