Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

A comprehensive evaluation of a therapeutic camping intervention for emotionally disturbed boys.
Skipper, K.C.
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1974.

Determine the effectiveness and identify differential treatment effects of a wilderness adventure camp experience for emotionally disturbed boys.

Subjects: 64 boys ages 10-15
Camp Affiliation: Adventure Trails Camp sponsored by the Dallas Salesmanship Club.

Method: The four Adventure Trails groups (8 boys/group) each took 26-day canoe trips. Subjects were involved in pre-trip planning and decision-making. Group and individual goal setting and evaluation, problem discussion sessions, and nightly group discussions were the group process techniques used on the trips.


  • Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory: measured self-esteem
  • Behavior Problem Checklist for Parents and Teachers: measured conduct problems, unsocialized aggressive behaviors, personality, neurotic behaviors, and inadequate immature behaviors.
  • Coping Analysis Schedule for Educational Settings: measured subjects' coping behaviors.
  • Structured interviews with campers: measured subjects' perceptions of the camping experience.
  • Florida Climate and Control System, Adapted: a systematic observation tool used to code counselor behaviors during the camp experience.
  • Critical Incident Report procedure: used to describe extreme episodes related to treatment goals.

Design: pre-test/post-test with follow-up and control groups. The Critical Incident Report procedure was used during the study. The Self-Esteem Inventory, Parent and Teacher Behavior Problem Checklist, and Coping Analysis were administered as pre- and post-tests. The structured interviews with campers replaced the Coping Analysis on the follow-up tests. Four observers gathered the CASES data in each school for three days before and three days after each trip. FLACCS observations were made during the trips at all times of the day.

Data Analysis: ANCOVA and Scheffe post hoc comparisons were used to analyze data from the Self-Esteem Inventory, Behavior Problem Checklist, and Coping Analysis Schedule for Educational Settings. Data from the Florida Climate and Control System, Critical Incident Reports, and interviews were reported descriptively.


  • Significant improvement in self-esteem for camping groups.
  • Campers were rated by parents as exhibiting significantly fewer behavior problems than the control groups. Results should be viewed with caution due to a violation of one assumption of the ANCOVA model.
  • Fewer conduct problems as reported by teachers (approaching significance).
  • No significant differences in coping patterns, but trends were in the direction of decrease in the number of undesirable behaviors and increase in the number of desirable behaviors.
  • No significant follow-up differences although the trend was toward sustained increases in self-esteem for campers.
  • Withdrawn campers showed a significantly greater increase in self-esteem than withdrawn control subjects.
  • Elementary campers increased significantly more in self-esteem than controls in this age group.
  • Elementary campers were rated by teachers as showing significantly fewer behavior problems in the classroom following the camping trip and on the follow-up test than were the junior high school campers or elementary control subjects.
  • Teachers consistently rated elementary campers as having improved more than junior high school campers.
  • Most campers felt that they had learned new ways of solving interpersonal problems and getting along with others, that their relationships with others had improved, that they gained increased understanding of themselves and others, and that they had exhibited more acceptable behaviors as a result of participation in the camping trips.