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Research & Teaching

Bradford Woods, Indiana University’s Outdoor Center, supports the academic mission of the School of Public Health and is a unit of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies. Bradford Woods prides itself on experiential learning opportunities for students and cutting-edge research opportunities for faculty from Indiana University and around the country. Our  model is to deliver programs based on empirical data. In short, we aim to deliver evidence based experiential programming to all clients that promotes positive growth and development. To this end, research is an integral and ongoing process.

Current Research:

  • Watts, P., & Rowser, M. (in review). Impact of Standardized Handoffs at Residential Camps for Children & Adolescents with Chronic Illness. American Camp Nursing Compass Point Journal
  • “Using the Family Battle Buddies Program to Enhance Family Reintegration following Parental Deployment: Results from a Pilot Study.” Research presentation PDF from Military Programs Conference, September 2014.
  • National Disability Specific Camp Research Project. See preliminary results from the study (PDF), which were presented at the 2014 American Camp Association conference.
  • Examining the Social Functioning of Youth With Disabilities: Implications for a Community Based Support Program
  • Pediatric Chronic Pain: Examining a Therapeutic Camp Pilot Program
  • Exploring Social Acceptance and Quality of Life for Campers with Hearing Impairments

Published Research:

  • Knapp, D, Devine, M.A., Dawson, S., & Piatt,J. (2015) Examining Perceptions of Social Acceptance and Quality of Life of Pediatric Campers with Physical Disabilities, Children’s Health Care, 44:1, 1-16, DOI:10.1080/02739615.2013.870041
  • Dawson, S. & Knapp, D. (2014). Brining “Camp War Buddies” to the Home Front. National Research Forum Book of Abstracts. American Camp Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Devine. M.A.. & Dawson, S. (2014). Disability Specific Camp Experience: Results of a National Study. National Research Forum Book of Abstracts. American Camp Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Townsend, J., & Van Puymbroeck, M. (2013). Family Recreation and Autism. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 12(1), 16-22. Understanding the intentions of famiies with a child with autism to participate in a family recreation program: A pilot study.
  • Townsend, J., & Van Puymbroeck, M. (2012). Autism Spectrum Disorder and Recreation Therapy. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 11(4), 27-37. Development and evaluation of a family recreation intervention for families with an adolescent with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Dawson, S., Knapp, D., & Farmer, J. (2012). Camp War Buddies: Exploring Therapeutic Benefits of Social Comparison in a Pediatric Oncology Camp. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 46(4), 313-325. Campers who attended a pediatric oncology camp demonstrated significant improvements in self-esteem. Discussion and implications focus on social comparison theory.
  • Bishop, C.F, Corning, S.E., Toshino, A., & Shellman, A. (2009). Emerging Attitudes: A Preliminary Analysis of Environmental Education Programs at Bradford Woods Outdoor Center. Camping Magazine, 82(6), 62-63. This study examined survey responses from fifth-graders before and after attending an Environmental Education program at Bradford Woods. There were significant increases in mean scores of responses to several statements, including “I am excited about school” and “I am interested in learning more about nature.”
  • Devine, M.A., & Dawson, S. (2010). The Effect of a Residential Camp Experience on Self Esteem and Social Acceptance of Youth with Craniofacial Differences. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 44(2), 105-120. Campers who attended a residential camping experience for youth with craniofacial differences demonstrated significant gains in self esteem and social acceptance after camp, though the gains dissipated several weeks later. Discussion focuses on the need for a multi-dimensional approach in addressing self esteem among youth with stigmatizing disabilities.
  • Dawson, S., & Liddicoat, K. (2009). “Camp Gives Me Hope”: Exploring the Therapeutic Use of Community for Adults with Cerebral Palsy. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 43(4), 9-24. This was an empirical study focused on the lived experiences and memories of adults who attended a camp that serves people with disabilities. The most common theme that emerged from camper interviews was about a feeling of community. Discussion focuses on the idea of community as a therapeutic modality.