Urban Gardening in a Participatory Community Action Research Project at Homeless Shelters:  Enhancement of Wellness and Vocational Readiness for Shelter Residents

Title

Urban Gardening in a Participatory Community Action Research Project at Homeless Shelters: Enhancement of Wellness and Vocational Readiness for Shelter Residents

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Description

Homelessness is a ubiquitous community problem that exists at the local, national, and international levels. This Participatory Community Action Research Project represents a collaboration between Dr. Roger N. Reeb (Roesch Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences, Professor of Psychology, University of Dayton) and administrators at St. Vincent De Paul (Dayton, OH). This project, which began in August of 2013, implements Behavioral Activation sessions at local men’s and women’s homeless shelters and well over 1,500 shelter residents have participated in the Behavioral Activation project thus far. Behavioral Activation is based on operant conditioning, refers to a therapeutic strategy that attempts to increase overt prosocial behaviors that bring a person into contact with reinforcing environmental opportunities, and thereby enhances thoughts, mood, quality of life, and actualization of inherent potentialities. This project also utilizes service-learning pedagogy, with faculty, community partners, graduate students, and undergraduate students working together to implement Behavioral Activation sessions within the shelters. Quantitative findings, which have been presented at numerous conferences, indicate that shelter residents perceive individual Behavioral Activation sessions as meaningful, worthy of repeating, and enjoyable. Over time, quantitative findings also indicate that participants perceive the Behavioral Activation Project as contributing to their sense of hope, capability and motivation for education/work, purpose or meaning in life, wellbeing, quality of life, social/emotional support, and improved social climate. Qualitative data support these quantitative findings and also reveal important themes (e.g., importance of student-resident relationships in supporting psychosocial improvements). This proposed research involves the establishment of an urban garden within the context of this project. In addition to yielding produce to enhance nutrition for shelter residents, this research will examine pre-to-post improvements in wellbeing in shelter residents who participate in the farming initiative.

Publication Date

4-18-2018

Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Charles Allan Hunt, Roger N Reeb

Primary Advisor's Department

Psychology

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Comments

Presenter: Katey M Gibbins

Urban Gardening in a Participatory Community Action Research Project at Homeless Shelters:  Enhancement of Wellness and Vocational Readiness for Shelter Residents

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