Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Committee Member

Brent Hawkins

Committee Member

Elizabeth Baldwin

Abstract

Adventure-Based Therapy (ABT) is a treatment intervention in Recreational Therapy (RT) that has the capacity to produce a variety of physical, psychological, cognitive, and social outcomes. While there is research on the potential benefits of ABT and ropes course experiences, there is a lack of research on which course types led to specific results, ultimately resulting in inconsistent programming. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to determine the impact of a static belay high ropes course experience on self-efficacy, and to explore the different parts of the course experience that were beneficial in developing self-efficacy. Assessments reflected a significant increase in self-efficacy following the ropes course experience. Focus groups and follow-up interviews reflected the different factors of ropes course experiences that led to the differences between pre- and post-assessment scores. These results supported that high ropes course programming can impact self-efficacy development, including mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional and physiological arousal. Based on these findings, recreational therapists should consider the use of the high ropes course as a tool to improve self-efficacy. Additional implications for practice and future research are included.

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