Purpose: Prevocational training aims to improve basic vocational and social skills, supporting return to work for people who have been out of work for a long time. Care farms provide prevocational training; the aim of the study was to use the self-determination theory to gain an understanding of how these programmes can lead to healthy functioning and motivation for clients.
Method: A total of 194 participants in prevocational training on care farms answered questions about demographic information, their perception of being a colleague, the social community on the farm, experiencing nature and animals and need satisfaction. A cross-sectional design resulting in a structural equation model was used to understand how elements of the care farm context influence satisfaction of three psychological needs.
Results: The results showed that a feeling of being a useful colleague led to competence, experiencing a sense of group belonging led to relatedness and autonomy, while receiving social support from the farmer led to satisfaction of all three needs for the participants.
Conclusions: The results explain how prevocational training can stimulate participants' functionality, motivation and well-being. This understanding enables initiators and managers of prevocational training to understand and further strengthen the need-supportive elements of such programmes. Implications for Rehabilitation Prevocational training on care farms can facilitate motivation, functioning and well-being for clients. Making clients feel like useful colleagues that belong to a client group will strengthen the positive qualities of these programmes. Support, understanding and acknowledgement from the farmer are the most important elements for a positive development for the clients.
Keywords: Care farms; need support; return to work; self-determination theory; vocational rehabilitation.