Adventure-based training to enhance resilience and reduce depressive symptoms among juveniles: A randomized controlled trial

Res Nurs Health. 2021 Jun;44(3):438-448. doi: 10.1002/nur.22127. Epub 2021 Mar 23.


There is growing concern about mental health problems among juveniles. Evidence shows that adventure-based training can reduce depressive symptoms in school children. However, a rigorous empirical investigation of the effectiveness of such training in enhancing resilience among juveniles has not yet been performed. In this study, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine the effectiveness of adventure-based training in enhancing resilience and self-esteem and reducing depressive symptoms among juveniles. Secondary school students from grades 7 to 9 (aged 12-16 years) who attended the Integrated Children and Youth Services Centre in a large public housing estate in Hong Kong from December 20, 2018 to November 25, 2019 were invited to participate in this study. We randomly assigned 228 eligible adolescents to an experimental group (n = 115) that received a 2-day/1-night adventure-based training or a placebo control group (n = 113) that received 2 days of leisure activities organized by the Integrated Children and Youth Services Centre. Data were collected at baseline and 3 and 6 months after the corresponding interventions. The primary outcome was resilience at 6 months. The secondary outcomes were depressive symptoms and self-esteem at 6 months. Compared with the placebo control group, the experimental group showed significantly higher resilience (p = 0.001) and fewer depressive symptoms (p = 0.02) at 6 months, and significantly higher self-esteem at 3 months (p = 0.04), but not at 6 months (p = 0.12). However, the generalizability of the findings is limited as we used a convenience sample.

Keywords: adventure-based training; depressive symptoms; juveniles; resilience; self-esteem.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Games, Recreational*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Concept
  • Students / psychology*