Addressing well-being in early and middle childhood: recreation therapy interventions aimed to develop skills that create a healthy life

Update item information
Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Health
Department Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Author Bennett, Jamie Ranae
Title Addressing well-being in early and middle childhood: recreation therapy interventions aimed to develop skills that create a healthy life
Date 2015
Description Children who experience increased levels of stress in early and middle childhood are at higher risk for symptoms of depression and anxiety, resulting in an impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL). When a child experiences trauma or toxic stress, the amygdala experiences hypertrophy. Thus, the child's enlarged amygdala undergoes changes in the architecture of the developing brain. This change in the brain's structure, results in a hyperresponsive physiologic stress response and increased potential for fear and anxiety. Though the changes in the brain are not visible, toxic stress can result in permanent changes in both the structure and function of the brain. Consequently, there is a link between toxic stress in early and middle childhood, and mental health in adult life. This knowledge has developed the need for a strong presence in understanding preventative mental health care for children. An effective method of providing these interventions is Recreation Therapy (RT). RT is the purposeful use of leisure and recreation as a means to maximize an individual's overall optimal health, well-being, and quality of life. RT functions from a strength-based approach though the Leisure and Well Being Model (LWM) of service delivery. A psychoeducational program entitled Healthy Me! was developed using both the LWM in conjunction with the Utah State Core Curriculum Health Education Standards. The present study investigated the impact that Healthy Me! had on 110 students ages 9-10 in the 4th grade. Each of the 110 students completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 likert-type scale to gather pre and post data, which indicated the impact of the progress. The results of the data were calculated using a series of t-tests in order to test the hypotheses. Findings suggest that the program proved effective in mitigating a decrease in HRQoL. Evidence supports RT interventions being administered in a school-based setting aimed to address HRQoL, which prevents a decline of HRQoL in early and middle childhood. It also provides a framework for future research to be administered in order to increase the validity of the impact of addressing mental health concerns in early and middle childhood.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Middle Childhood; Prevention; Quality of Life; Recreation Therapy; Stress; Well-Being
Dissertation Name Master of Science
Language eng
Rights Management ©Jamie Ranae Bennett
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 27,673 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3998
ARK ark:/87278/s6ht5xmk
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-08-02
Date Modified 2017-05-16
ID 197548
Reference URL