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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 6052-6068; doi:10.3390/ijerph110606052

Narratives of Natural Recovery: Youth Experience of Social Inclusion through Green Care

1
Department of Public Health, Hedmark University College, Box 400, 2418 Elverum, Norway
2
Department of Health Care and Nursing, Gjövik University College, Box 191, 2802 Gjövik, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 March 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 6 June 2014
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Abstract

The aim of this study has been to investigate the effects of Green Care services for youth in vulnerable situations risking social exclusion. Green Care enterprises represent alternative arenas in which people can work with animals, agriculture and other tasks related to nature. We interviewed nine persons, aged 17–27, working in three different places, two or more times over a two-year period. We looked at essential beneficial factors in order to better understand how the “green” element could add to more traditional recovery factors. We found that the youth described core success factors corresponding to well-known recovery factors such as recognition, supportive relationships, motivation, meaning, positive coping, self-esteem, confidence and hope. The effective factors can be described as: (a) The leader’s ability to create a good group atmosphere, (b) the varied tasks which allow step-wise increases in self-efficacy, and (c) experiences with animals and in nature that provide comfort for youth who lack trust in people and need safe situations to recover a positive sense of self. We followed a process in which several persons gradually regained self-respect and the motivation for further education or a job outside the Green Care enterprise. The study illustrates that Green Care can be an important supplement in helping people back to a satisfying life and meaningful roles in society. View Full-Text
Keywords: Green Care; youth social inclusion; recovery Green Care; youth social inclusion; recovery
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kogstad, R.E.; Agdal, R.; Hopfenbeck, M.S. Narratives of Natural Recovery: Youth Experience of Social Inclusion through Green Care. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 6052-6068.

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