Effectiveness of Adventure Education on Health Outcomes Related to Physical, Psychological, and Social Development in Children: A Systematic Review

Peng Zhou, Patrick W.C. Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This systematic review aims to investigate the impact of adventure education (AE) on children’s physical, psychological, and social development (children’s age range: 0–18 years old).

Methods: The review was reported based on Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (PRISMA 2015). Articles were retrieved from seven databases (EMBASE, PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, and Psychology Database) from 2000 to 2021. Methodological quality was examined according to Version 2 of the Cochrane risk-of-tool for randomized trials (RoB 2).

Results: Eighteen studies were screened. AE was found to contribute to the improvement of physical development in nonhealthy children aged 9 to 16 years and nonhealthy children aged 3 to 7 years. All results showed a positive psychological impact of AE except for inconsistent results for self-esteem, self-efficacy, and quality of life. Moreover, AE was found to be an approach that enhanced social development among nonhealthy and healthy children aged 11–17 years and nonhealthy children aged 3–7 years.

Conclusion: AE intervention produces physical, psychological, and social benefits in children. Most studies analyzed in this review focused on 9- to 18-year-old unhealthy and healthy children. Only one study involved 3- to 7-year-old unhealthy children. However, most of the studies in this field have weak methodological quality, and thus, the present evidence should be interpreted carefully. Future work with superior methodology in AE intervention would help us establish a greater degree of accuracy in this area of study.

Implications: AE intervention with better study design is needed. Research also needs to be conducted to examine the effectiveness of AE on physical, psychological, and social development in healthy younger children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511–524
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Teaching in Physical Education
Volume42
Issue number3
Early online date14 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

User-Defined Keywords

  • adventure-based training
  • physical activity
  • psychological health
  • social competence

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