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Psychological and Physiological Health Benefits of a Structured Forest Therapy Program for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Disorders

Namyun Kil1,*, Jin Gun Kim2, Emily Thornton1, Amy Jeranek3

1 Department of Recreation Management and Recreational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, 54601, USA
2 Korea Forest Therapy Forum Incorporated Association, Cheongju, 28644, Korea
3 Hiawatha Valley Education District-SAIL Program, Kellogg, 55945, USA

* Corresponding Author: Namyun Kil. Email: email

(This article belongs to the Special Issue: Disentangling the Pathway to the Health of Adults’ Populations: Emotional and Physical Wellbeing)

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2023, 25(10), 1117-1125. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.022981

Abstract

Mental health conditions in children and adolescents can be improved by slow mindful nature connection known as forest therapy or bathing. Forest therapy has recently received growing attention as an enabler of relaxation and preventive health care with demonstrated clinical efficacy. However, it is not well-known that forest therapy also decreases mental health issues among individuals with mental health disorders. This study explored the psychological and physiological health benefits of structured forest therapy programs for children and adolescents with mental health disorders. A one-group pre-test-posttest design was employed for our study participants. Twelve participants (aged 9–14 years) engaged in two one-hour guided standard sequence forest therapy experiences. A Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS), Profile of Mood States (POMS), place meanings (e.g., functional, emotional, and cognitive attachment to the forest) questionnaire, and physiological health assessment were administered to the participants. Our results showed that negative mood states were significantly reduced and that a positive mood state was significantly improved after the structured forest therapy programs. Also, mindfulness, nature connection, place meanings, and physiological health were significantly boosted after the interventions. The results demonstrate substantial psychological and physiological health and well-being outcomes of structured forest therapy for similar individuals.


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Cite This Article

APA Style
Kil, N., Kim, J.G., Thornton, E., Jeranek, A. (2023). Psychological and physiological health benefits of a structured forest therapy program for children and adolescents with mental health disorders. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 25(10), 1117-1125. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.022981
Vancouver Style
Kil N, Kim JG, Thornton E, Jeranek A. Psychological and physiological health benefits of a structured forest therapy program for children and adolescents with mental health disorders. Int J Ment Health Promot. 2023;25(10):1117-1125 https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.022981
IEEE Style
N. Kil, J.G. Kim, E. Thornton, and A. Jeranek "Psychological and Physiological Health Benefits of a Structured Forest Therapy Program for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Disorders," Int. J. Ment. Health Promot., vol. 25, no. 10, pp. 1117-1125. 2023. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.022981



cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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