Who are They? A Descriptive Study of Adolescents in Wilderness and Residential Programsedit
Although residential and wilderness treatment programs are growing in popularity, little is known about the adolescents placed within them. This study analyzed a random sample of 473 psychological evaluations of adolescents in residential and wilderness treatment centers for participants’ cognitive functioning, aggression, family history of mental health, substance abuse, trauma, past treatment experiences, and reasons for current placement. The results suggest that participants were primarily delinquent, substance-abusing, and oppositional. Results also revealed nearly a third of the sample reported self-harming behaviors and nearly half reported recent traumatic events. The profile of this population carries important implications for residential treatment providers.