Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study was carried out in order to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and program traits for wilderness therapists employed at Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) treatment programs. It was hypothesized that wilderness therapists who work at base camp or in both base camp and expedition type wilderness therapy programs will report higher levels of Job Satisfaction on the Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS) because their work days are more flexible. Secondly, wilderness therapists who work in expedition type wilderness therapy programs will report lower levels of Job Satisfaction on the JSS because they work under more rigorous conditions. A quantitative design based on survey was utilized to examine the above hypothesis. Emails were sent out to numerous agencies and affiliations of OBH treatment programs to recruit wilderness therapist respondents for this study using the online tool, Survey Monkey. Approximately 100 emails were sent out; 49 respondents completed the survey. In this small scale study, no signification correlation was found between job satisfaction and the variables of case load, number of years in the job, or program type. These results do not confirm previous literature on job satisfaction in terms of the variables that influence job satisfaction. The results of this study suggest that job satisfaction is actually quite stable for wilderness therapists, and that the factors examined simply do not effect job satisfaction. Future studies should include a greater range of clients' socioeconomic levels, larger study samples and look at other variables that may influence job satisfaction for wilderness therapists.


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. vii, 81 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 42-45)