Abstract

Issue addressed: Emerging adult university undergraduates are a vulnerable population due to various life stressors. Previous studies have reported a range of positive outcomes from outdoor expeditions for this population. This small pilot study aimed to investigate the impacts of an outdoor expedition on wellbeing and connectedness to nature and possible confounding by gender and living environment.

Methods: A sample of 54 Health and Physical Education emerging adult undergraduates in the second year of their four-year degree completed a 3-day/2-night immersion expedition. Pre-post differences and a repeated-measures analysis with confounders examined the expedition's impact on scores from the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and Connectedness to Nature Scale.

Results: Involvement in a short expedition improved well-being and connectedness to nature. Females reported a stronger connectedness to nature than males, while living environments may affect well-being.

Conclusions/So what? Incorporating regular contact with nature into the structure of undergraduate programs may improve wellbeing and protect this population's mental and emotional health. In a world adjusting to the effects of a global pandemic, opportunities for teaching in non-traditional classrooms (such as outdoors) may also protect physical health.

Keywords

young adult, student, mental health issues, environmental health, healthy environments, mental health

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

10.1002/hpja.555

Available for download on Wednesday, November 16, 2022

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