Journal Watch – 6 November 2015

Title: Initial Investigation of Comfort Levels, Motivations, and Attitudes of Volunteers During Therapeutic Recreation Programs

Author: Collier, V; Rothwell, E; Vanzo, R and Carbone, P, S.
Journal: Therapeutic Recreation Journal, vol 49, no 3, pgs 207 – 219

Some of the barriers faced by individuals with disabilities result from negative attitudes of individuals without disabilities from the general public. Thus, therapeutic recreation programs in the community are an ideal setting to foster interaction between individuals with and without disabilities through integrated services, which can reduce negative attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to describe the factors that motivate individuals to volunteer for therapeutic recreation programs and to evaluate how the volunteer experience affected the volunteer’s comfort level and attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. Using quantitative scales, volunteers were surveyed before and after exposure to therapeutic recreation programs. Data analyses demonstrated that baseline comfort levels of volunteers toward individuals with disabilities were high. There was a statistically significant increase in comfort levels toward individuals with disabilities after exposure to therapeutic recreation programs among volunteers with lower baseline comfort levels.

Key words:
therapeutic recreation, developmental disability, autism spectrum disorders, volunteer motivations

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