Personality disorder and intellectual disability: the impacts of horticultural therapy within a medium-secure unit

Christie, Mark; Thompson, Michaela; Miller, Paul K. and Cole, Fiona (2016) Personality disorder and intellectual disability: the impacts of horticultural therapy within a medium-secure unit.

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This study was designed to explore the efficacy of a horticultural therapy intervention for the enhancement of subjective health and wellbeing in male service users with a dual diagnosis of personality disorder and intellectual disability in a medium secure unit in the north of England, UK. Service users (n=7) were involved in three focus groups; one just prior to a new garden facility opening, and then again at the six and twelve month points, which explored the personal impacts upon service users’ health and wellbeing. The garden was itself an upshot of participant involvement; service users were involved in all aspects of the garden design and maintenance, and also assisted with dissemination of the research goals and findings. Service users reported numerous personal health benefits as a result of their engagement with horticultural activities, allied to personal development enhancements in respect of gardening knowledge, employability skills, personal achievements and positive changes in behaviour towards self and others. Particularly, underlying these outputs, participants identified reduced stress, and a general “feel good” factor as key to their improved life-satisfaction. The mechanisms providing for these impacts included: interaction with a natural environment; enhanced intrinsic motivation derived from participation in a variety of tasks; and opportunities to develop specific horticultural skills. Immersion in horticultural activity may thus be an effective treatment modality in promoting positive health benefits to service users.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: 300 Social Science research methodologies, 306 Culture & institutions (incl. sociology of health), 362 Social welfare (Child abuse, youth work, ageing, disability, primary care, NHS)
Members: University of Cumbria
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 13:06
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 13:06

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