The effects of a structured therapeutic recreation program on the self-esteem of the mildly retarded adults within a community park setting

The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the effects of a structured therapeutic recreation program on the self-esteem of mildly retarded adults. The study was conducted for three months and included six adults in a community park setting. Two instruments were administered twice (pre-test and post-test) during this exploratory study. One instrument was the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale and the other was the Mirenda Leisure Interest Finder. The findings were separated into three areas: (1) The participants' profile on the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale reflected that there was no significant differences between pre-test and post-test scores. (2) The participants' individual scores in the majority of cases improved from pre-test to post-test. This suggests that the structured therapeutic recreation program helped the participants with the most deviant scores to improve their self-esteem. (3) The participants' profiles on the Mirenda Leisure Interest Finder resembled the group's profile. Therefore, the structured therapeutic recreation program did not significantly change the self-esteem of the majority of the participants. It reinforced already minimal levels of self-esteem exhibited on the pre-test profile of the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale. The program provided opportunities for success and positive reinforcement. Anecdotal material was recorded through-out the program which indicated that the participants felt better about themselves, both psychologically and socially, when the program ended three months later.