Effect of a mentoring program for adolescents with physical disabilities attending a therapeutic camp

Shay Dawson, Bryan McCormick, Jennifer Piatt, Doug Knapp, Stephanie Dickinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Youth with physical disabilities are at an elevated risk for poor psychosocial health. Pediatric medical camps are one common intervention utilized to provide short-Term psychosocial support. However, there is a growing criticism that the effects of such programs diminish as participants return to home and school settings post residential camp experience. A post camp support intervention, the first known in the literature, was tested for perceptions of mattering and self-esteem. Specifically, this study examined the psychosocial effect of a year-round mentoring and online support program as an adjunct to residential camp (intervention) as compared to peers that attended only the summer residential experience (comparison group). METHODS: A quasi-experimental design using an intervention and comparison group was implemented. Data were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance to test for within group and between group effect. RESULTS: A small effect (partial ?2= 0.096) between groups (p< 0.17) and a moderate effect (partial ?2= 0.133) within groups (p< 0.10) was detected for the mattering construct. A positive effect for self-esteem was not detected between or within groups. CONCLUSIONS: The online and mentoring support program appeared to improve perceptions of mattering three months into implementation. Future implications center on the refinement of the support program and suggestions for further longitudinal research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adolescent
  • camping
  • community integration
  • self-concept
  • social distance


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