Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Susan Wilson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lynn Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Walsh, CASAC, LCSW


The purpose of this study was to investigate participation in a therapeutic recreation program and its relationship to leisure functioning and achieving and maintaining sobriety. The study was based at The Willows inpatient program at Syracuse Behavioral Health (SBH), a 28-day inpatient treatment center for substance abuse. Participants were randomly selected upon entering treatment to participate in the study if went to the SBH outpatient program upon completion of their inpatient treatment. Of the 505 patients entering treatment during the course of this study, 78 patients entered the study, and 33 completed all its requirements. The intervention was participation in the therapeutic recreation program, which used a leisure education model. Participants completed the Leisure Diagnostic Battery (LDB) upon entering the study and upon completion of their treatment. Level of participation in each therapeutic recreation group was rated using a Likert scale by the researcher, who was a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Achieving and maintaining sobriety was determined by completion of the outpatient treatment program at SBH and remaining abstinent for six months. Means of the pre and post LDB were then compared for any change in leisure functioning in relation to level of participation. Results showed that those who participated at a high level in therapeutic recreation showed a significant improvement in leisure functioning, while those who participated at a low level did not. The relationship between participants’ level of participation (high or low) and maintaining sobriety was analyzed using Chi-square. The results showed that there was no significant relationship between level of participation in therapeutic recreation and achieving and maintaining sobriety.