Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jasmine Townsend

Committee Member

Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Committee Member

Dr. Brandi Crowe

Committee Member

Dr. Lisa Loar


Substance Use Disorders (SUD) are widespread in the United States (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2017), and treatment based on evidence may be difficult to find (The CASA Columbia National Advisory Commission on Addiction Treatment, 2012). According to the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certfication’s most recent survey of the profession, 41.69% of Certified Theraepeutic Recreation Specialists work with people who have SUD. In order to gain insight regarding the current state of practice of recreational therapy (RT) within SUD treatment, a national survey of CTRSs who work in the U.S., serving individuals with SUD as either a primary or secondary diagnosis was conducted. The initial 135- question survey had 164 respondents. Follow-up interviews with conducted with nine CTRSs across different levels of care to further understand the quantitative data from the survey. The explanatory mixed methods research yielded information on common CTRS demographics, clinical programs, intervention types, use of the APIED process, commonly used resources, and current needs and gaps in SUD-specific RT treatment. Further, a systematic review and critique of SUD-specific RT literature and RT textbooks was conducted. Peer-reviewed journal articles from 1981-2021 and current RT textbooks and manuals from three publishers were reviewed and critiqued. Gaps and needs in research were described and discussed. This study resulted in a detailed examination of current practice or RT within SUD care, and suggestions for future research to improve practice and education for RT students.

Author ORCID Identifier

Available for download on Saturday, August 31, 2024