Outcomes of a Therapeutic Fly-Fishing Program for Veterans with Combat-Related Disabilities: A Community-Based Rehabilitation Initiative

Community Ment Health J. 2017 Oct;53(7):756-765. doi: 10.1007/s10597-017-0124-9. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


The purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes of a therapeutic fly-fishing program for veterans with combat-related disabilities. A total of 40 veterans participated in the 4-day therapeutic fly-fishing program and this study. The outcomes examined included reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS), depression, perceived stress, functional impairment (i.e., work, relationships, physical, and everyday life), increasing self-determination, and leisure satisfaction. Each research participant completed pretest, posttest, and 3-month follow-up questionnaires. Repeated measures MANOVA and ANOVA were conducted to examine the differences between the three time points on each outcomes. The results indicated significant decreases from the pretest to posttest for symptoms of PTS, depression, perceived stress, and functional impairment, and an increase in leisure satisfaction from pretest to 3-month follow-up. These results highlight the use of therapeutic recreation programming for veterans with disabilities as a holistic approach to treatment and recovery.

Keywords: Fly-fishing; Mental health; Therapeutic recreation; Veterans.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Services
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Trauma / diagnosis
  • Psychological Trauma / etiology
  • Psychological Trauma / rehabilitation*
  • Recreation / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Veterans Health*
  • War-Related Injuries / diagnosis
  • War-Related Injuries / rehabilitation*