Proven Results, Positive Change

Trails Carolina has developed a 5-year outcome study to allow us to better understand the efficacy of our program. This study was done in coordination with the University of Arkansas and the results were collected independently from Trails Carolina’s involvement. One of the more impactful portions of the outcome study was reviewing the way we do family work and what the impact of our program looks like a year after a family has graduated from Trails Carolina. The independence of the study along with the transitional model used by Trails Carolina helps to legitimize the work done in the wilderness and provide evidence-based results for our methods.

Anxiety

86% of students showed improvement in anxiety symptoms, 12 months after graduation.

Depression

93% of students showed improvement in depression symptoms, 12 months after graduation.

Suicidal Thoughts

98% of students reported experiencing a decrease in suicidal thoughts, 12 months after graduation.

Substance Use

96% of students reported experiencing a decrease in substance use, 12 months after graduation.

ADHD

97% of students reported a decrease in symptoms associated with ADHD, 12 months after graduation.

Does Wilderness Therapy Work?

Trails Carolina has partnered  with the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE; Asheville, NC) and the Arkansas Institute of Developmental Science to develop a research initiative, exploring the clinical presentation, therapeutic outcomes, and impact for youth and families involved in wilderness therapy programming.

Both students and parents reported significant changes in behavior and symptoms–in both the youth and the family–from enrollment at Trails to one full year after graduation.

12 months after graduation, 93% of students showed a decrease in rule-breaking behaviors

93%

96%

12 months after graduation, 96% of students showed a decrease in externalizing behaviors.

Externalizing

96% of students reported experiencing a decrease in externalizing behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

Rule Breaking

93% of students reported experiencing a decrease in rule breaking behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

Disruptive Behavior

Only 1% of students showed signs of disruptive behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

Aggression

98% of students reported experiencing a decrease in aggressive behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

Pre-Teen Student Data (Ages 9-13)

Many of our students are struggling with internal issues that lead them to acting out and breaking rules. With dedicated clinicians and an individualized treatment plan, we help these students understand the consequences of their actions and work toward more positive behaviors. We find that teaching students healthy coping mechanisms helps shift their responses away from externalizing and toward more appropriate responses.

School Functioning

12 months after graduation, only 17% of students showed school functioning issues.

Felt Excited

12 months after graduation, 87% of students felt excited about school.

School Refusal

12 months after graduation, only 4% of students showed signs of school refusal.

Academics

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Academics

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School Functioning

12 months after graduation, only 17% of students showed school functioning issues.

Felt Excited

12 months after graduation, 87% of students felt excited about school.

School Refusal

12 months after graduation, only 4% of students showed signs of school refusal.

Adopted Students

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Anxiety

12 months after graduation, 93% of adopted students showed a decrease in anxious symptoms

Depression

12 months after graduation, 97% of adopted students showed a decrease in depressed symptoms

Aggression

12 months after graduation, 98% of adopted students showed a decrease in aggressive behaviors

Rule Breaking

12 months after graduation, 97% of adopted students showed a decrease in rule-breaking behaviors

Family Functioning Treatment Outcomes

How Does Our Outcomes Study Work?

This ongoing research initiative is assessing youth, parents, and families about a wealth of issues, including mental health symptoms, syndromes, and behavioral problems observed at four specific time periods:

  • Upon admission to Trails Carolina
  • At graduation from Trails Carolina
  • Three months after graduation from Trails
  • One year after graduation from Trails

The research initiative utilizes a variety of assessment tools, including the Treatment Outcome Package (TOP), the gold standard for measuring response to therapeutic interventions, and the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessments.