The effectiveness of the N.P.A.T. KwaZulu-Natal Midlands ecotherapy programme.
Streatfield, Gregory William.
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There is much support for ecotherapy as a psychological intervention within the current literature. Research has indicated that ecotherapy does have a detectable therapeutic effect, particularly for programmes that run for more than 20 days. Furthermore, a number of studies have provided evidence ofthe effectiveness ofecotherapy in improving self-esteem and psychological health. However, research and evaluation ofecotherapy programmes have been plagued with poor quality studies with serious methodological problems. Many past evaluations ofecotherapy programmes have used anecdotal evidence and outcome-based interpretations. The current study evaluated the effectiveness ofthe N.P.A.T. KwaZulu Natal Midlands Ecotherapy Programme. The study focused on subjects' self-esteem and the manifestation ofpsychological symptoms as outcome measures. The experimental design employed three different experimental groups and a control group. All experimental and control groups were administered a pretest and posttest consisting ofthe Symptoms Checklist-90-Revised and the Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory-2. The pretest was administered before the ecotherapy programme. The experimental groups were administered the posttest one month after the ecotherapy programme. The control group were given no intervention, and were administered the posttest one month after the pretest. Pretest and posttest differences were tested for significance using repeated measures analysis ofvariance (ANOVA). No statistically significant difference was found between the experimental and control groups on the pretest and posttest. This suggests that the ecotherapy programme had no detectable effect on the experimental group subjects' self-esteem or the manifestation of psychological symptoms. The implications ofthese results and future considerations were discussed.