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Where wild things grow: Friluftsterapi as a preventative, health promoting, and sustainable method for children with neurodivergence in school, health care, family and leisure settings in Southern Norway

Dr Nicola Relph

Edge Hill University

Dr Nicola Relph is a senior lecturer at Edge Hill University in the Faculty of Health, Social Care, and Medicine. She has published research in knee proprioception and ACL injuries and completed research on sporting injuries in multi-day running events, rugby, basketball, gymnastics, dance, and football. Her current research focus is musculoskeletal injuries in inactive populations. She has a specific interest in lower-limb injuries in people beginning physical activity for the first time, with a focus on injury prevention strategies. Dr. Nicola Relph has completed research on parkrun, the Couch-to-5k running program, and a Cochrane review on running shoes for preventing lower limb running injuries in adults. She is currently supervising three PhD students, two are considering the role of physical activity/outdoor adventure activities in aspects of mental wellbeing. She is also working on research into the use of social prescribing to improve the mental health of children and young people.

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Using Outdoor Adventure Activities (OAA) as a resilience building intervention with female youth: building new theories and framework using a Realist Approach

Outdoor Adventure Activities (OAA) can positively impact youth resilience, and female youth have shown more enduring and functional improvements in resilience than their male peers following participation in OAA programmes (Allan and McKenna, 2022). Promoting resilience is important as pressures on young females increase the risk of depression and anxiety (Manner et al., 2020). Therefore, using adventure therapy to promote female youth resilience may be a worthwhile endeavor. There remains a lack of consensus and robust theories on which to build effective OAA interventions (Allan, 2021). Existing theories have received criticism due to the lack of contextual and cultural specificity (Pomfret et al., 2023), a dearth of evidence supporting the underpinning beliefs, and little empirical research verifying their usefulness with specific populations (Pollock and Harper, 2022). To address this, a realist review of the evidence was completed. Findings from academic papers, grey literature, and expert consultations were combined; to support the construction and refinement of six theories which propose important aspects of context, intervention architecture, mechanisms, and outcomes. These were developed into an overarching model to show how the findings could be used in practice. This presentation will discuss of; the process of developing the theories; presentation of the six theories; an explanation of the overarching model and how it could be used; theories from other disciplines which support this work and may be useful to consider in practice. Following this, recommendations of how this research may be applied in adventure therapy, and suggestions for future research will be highlighted.

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