Preliminary Findings from a Meta-Analysis of Adventure Therapy Program Effects


This study conducted a meta-analysis of studies that empirically report on participant outcomes for adventure therapy programs, and examined variation in these outcomes across different types of participants and programs. The results are based on 2,356 effect sizes, from 175 unique samples located within 166 studies. Results are reported for three treatment groups (Adventure Therapy Treatment, Alternative Treatment, and No Treatment) and, where available, are broken down across three time comparisons (Base-Pre, Pre-Post, and Post-Follow-Up). The average standardised mean effect size for the treatment group from Base-Pre was .09, Pre-Post was .47, and Post-Follow-Up was .05, which compared favourably to neglible effect sizes for the Alternative and No Treatment groups (< .1). Additionally, moderator variables were assessed for changes in the Adventure Therapy Treatment group Pre-Post. In most instances, findings indicated no clear or notable moderator effects, providing further support for the robustness of the overall moderate effectiveness of adventure therapy, and for the use of findings from this study for benchmarking program effectiveness.

Click here for a copy of the paper presented at the 6IATC Conference.

Click here for summary Information from Bowen and Neill’s (2012) Meta-Analysis.


Table 1

Overall Effect Sizes for Treatment Group by Time comparison

Note: g = Hedges’ g; V = Variance; N = Number of Effect Sizes.


Bowen, D. J., & Neill, J. T. (2012). Preliminary findings from a meta-analysis of adventure therapy program effects. Paper presented at the 6th International Adventure Therapy Conference, Hruba Skala, Czech Republic.

Last Updated: 27 September 2012