Wilderness adventure therapy and cognitive rehabilitation: Joining forces for youth with TBI

Lucie Shanahan, Lindy McAllister, Michael Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Primary objective: To highlight the potential application of Wilderness Adventure Therapy (WAT) as a supplementary tool in cognitive rehabilitation with an adolescent TBI population. Literature selection: A review of existing literature pertaining to adolescent TBI, cognitive rehabilitation approaches and Wilderness Adventure Therapy was conducted. Literature was sourced through EBSCOhost (Health and Psychology), Informaworld, Informit Online and Ovid. Key search terms used were: adolescent, adventure therapy, at-risk, brain injury, cognitive rehabilitation, delinquent, head injury, paediatric, outdoor education, wilderness adventure therapy and youth. Main outcomes: Three articles that discuss the use of WAT with adult TBI cohorts were identified; no research reporting the use of WAT with an adolescent TBI cohort was located. The review highlighted theoretical and practice similarities between cognitive rehabilitation and WAT, with both proving to be examples of 'contextualized intervention'. The majority of WAT literature reported programmes aimed at at-risk and delinquent youth and, again, similarities in the difficulties experienced by these adolescents and adolescents with TBI were apparent. Conclusions: A trial study that investigates the application of WAT with adolescents with TBI is warranted. Outcomes for executive functioning skill development, self-esteem development and quality-of-life post-programme should be ascertained to compare with results from adult programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1064
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number13-14
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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