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ERIC Number: ED531760
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
Adventure Therapy and Adjudicated Youth. AEE White Papers
Association for Experiential Education (NJ1)
The most recent figures place the number of juvenile arrests in the United States at 2.11 million. (OJJDP, 2009). In some states, children as young as 10 years old are incarcerated for violent offenses. Crowded juvenile facilities are often unable to meet the needs of these large numbers of youth. The cost to treat offenders within long-term residential facilities is expensive. States spend anywhere from $4 million (in smaller states like Hawaii) to $450 million in larger states such as California on their annual juvenile corrections budget (, 2010). Locked confinement in a state juvenile correction institution can run in excess of $60,000 annually (Tyler, Ziedenberg, and Lotke, 2006). As an alternative to incarceration for adjudicated youth, several forms of adventure therapy programming have been used. Most of these programs were developed around the premise that the structure of the adventure experience and associated facilitation could produce beneficial changes more effectively than time spent within a locked treatment facility. Just as the type of adventure therapy programs are mixed, so are the outcome research findings associated with juvenile delinquency. Several studies criticize adventure therapy with adjudicated youth for having insignificant or no lasting evidence of effectiveness, including Aos, Miller, and Drake (2006), Brown, Borduin, and Henggeler, (2001), Moote and Wodarski (1997), and Wilson and Lipsey (2000). As recognized in these studies, the key to unlocking the understanding of what is an effective adventure therapy program for juvenile delinquents is the inclusion of certain critical elements. Gass (1993), and more recently in Gillis and Gass (2010), identified seven key factors that seem to predominate the treatment elements of successful programs. These seven elements include treatment: (1) enhanced through action-oriented experiences, (2) centered on the use of unfamiliar client environments, (3) producing a climate of functional change through the positive use of stress, (4) highly informed with client assessment, (5) conducted in a small group, supportive atmosphere, (6) focused on solution oriented principles and techniques, and (7) that changed the role of therapist to remain more "mobile" to actively design and frame interventions.
Association for Experiential Education. 3775 Iris Avenue Suite 4, Boulder, CO 80304. Tel: 303-440-8844; Fax: 303-440-9581; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Experiential Education, Boulder, CO.
Identifiers - Location: United States