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  • SSM_D_21_02003_R1

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Social Science & Medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Social Science & Medicine, 289, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114411

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.94 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 1/10/22

    Available under license: CC BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Wilderness as therapeutic landscape in later life: Towards an understanding of place-based mechanisms for wellbeing through nature-adventure activity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
Article number114411
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Science and Medicine
Volume289
Number of pages9
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date1/10/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

While there is considerable evidence that therapeutic landscapes have a positive impact on wellbeing, we know little about the mechanisms through which this impact occurs. In this paper we go some way toward addressing this gap. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 12 people aged between 52 and 75 years of age, who are engaged in nature-adventure activity in the UK, we focus on what they understand by ‘wilderness’; their experiences of nature-adventure in wilderness settings; and the impact of these experiences on their wellbeing. Moving beyond the largely behavioural focus of laboratory-based studies prevalent within environmental psychology, we highlight the importance of understanding the role of the contextual in the therapeutic relationship. That is, how relational, embodied, social, lifecourse and/or cultural factors that are constitutive of wilderness environments impact wellbeing for those engaged in nature-adventure activity in later life. In doing so, we map out a working model of the mechanisms that impact wellbeing within this context. Our data suggest that there is no one single mechanism, rather we need to think about a range of mechanisms, often operating across a series of spectra (active/passive; safety/risk; alone/socially etc) and importantly, each are connected to place. Hence, we suggest, that where that activity takes place is instrumental for wellbeing.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Social Science & Medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Social Science & Medicine, 289, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114411