Trait emotional intelligence, client symptoms, and predictive factors in wilderness therapy




Zolotas, Kostas

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Background: Mental health issues and harmful substance use are problems that affect many Canadian youth. Wilderness therapy (WT) is a residential adventure-based therapy modality shown to have some success in treating these issues. Further research is needed regarding the ways that participants change, and if there are certain individuals that benefit more from this treatment than others. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the changes in presenting problems and trait emotional intelligence of participants at one WT organization in Ontario, Canada. The working alliance - shown to have a positive impact on therapeutic treatment - along with sex and age, were examined to determine if these elements moderate outcomes. Methodology: Two separate samples were created from archival data provided by the participating organization. The first sample includes pre and post Youth Outcome Questionnaires (N=30, 14 to 18 year olds). The second sample includes pre and post Trait-Emotional Intelligence Questionnaires (N=68 youth, 16 to 20 year olds). All participants in both groups completed one Working Alliance Inventory post-WT. Descriptive statistics were calculated, paired t-tests were run, and Pearson correlation matrices and visualizations were created. Findings/Conclusions: Findings indicate that older male individuals report greater reductions in presenting problems as a result of their participation in WT. Trait emotional intelligence did not seem to change, and the working alliance did not seem to moderate any of these outcomes.



wilderness therapy, outdoor behavioral healthcare, Canada, trait emotional intelligence, youth outcome questionnaire, working alliance, age, sex