Published Articles


Measuring social and emotional functioning as a facet of Positive Youth Development among children and adolescents in special education and mental health treatment

An assessment of the validity of a set of social and emotional functioning constructs derived from the Positive Youth Development short form (PYD-SF) measure within a sample of children and adolescents with one or more mental health diagnoses related to social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. Associations between the social-emotional constructs from the PYD-SF and an assessment of social-emotional assets and resilience were examined, and results supported the validity and internal reliability of the social-emotional constructs from the PYD-SF measure for assessing the social and emotional competencies of youth with social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges.

Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, July 2022

Staff Perspectives on the Targeted Incorporation of Nature-based Interventions for Children and Youth at a Residential Treatment Facility

Understanding intervention qualities that may facilitate treatment goals is critical to determining nature-based activities to offer effective interventions for youth. This study, as part of broader joint research between Green Chimneys and IHAC, focuses on interviews with 78 staff members comprising educators, clinicians, residential staff, and farm staff about immediate and long-term outcomes of student participation in nature-based interventions. In sharing examples and personal experiences, staff highlighted qualities such as delayed or immediate gratification, sense of safety or fear, and grounding or stimulation, and often described interventions as offering qualities to support more than one treatment goal.

Well Being International Studies Repository, Sept 2021

The impacts of a nature-based mentorship program on students’ self-regulation: Harnessing the anticipation effect self-regulation: Harnessing the anticipation effect

Self-regulation is essential to youths’ long-term mental well-being and healthy functioning and positive anticipation of future events may support healthy emotional regulation. As part of larger joint research project between Green Chimneys and IHAC on the impact of nature-based programming on students with special needs, this study focused on weekly one-on-one nature-based mentoring sessions, and how they impacted students’ emotional regulation both before and after their sessions.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Nov 2020

Human-animal-environment interactions as a context for youth social-emotional health and wellbeing: Practitioners’ perspectives on processes of change, implementation, and challenges

Building on the approach to capture first-hand perspectives of staff working directly with youth, a second qualitative study with IHAC focuses on the experiences of Green Chimneys’ nature-based program staff. This study asked farm staff to describe how they’ve seen youth be impacted by nature-based programs, particularly in shaping outcomes related to their development and wellbeing. Staff shared that youth interactions with plants, animals, and nature improved mood, strengthened relations, self-regulation,  and self-conception.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Social Work, Sept 2020

Animal-Assisted Interventions as an Adjunct to Therapy for Youth: Clinician Perspectives

In this third study with IHAC, data collection focused specifically on animal-assisted interventions as clinicians were asked to share their perspective on how animal-assisted therapy impacts youth. The majority of clinical staff observed that animal-assisted therapy provided youth opportunities for contribution, increased sense of safety, supported self-regulation, increased engagement in therapy, and facilitated youth relationships with others.

Journal of Youth Development, 2019

Human-Animal-Environment Interactions as a Context for Child and Adolescent Growth

This study is the first in a series of qualitative studies as part of the joint research project between Green Chimneys and the University of Denver Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC). It is focused on describing the essence and nature of special education teachers’ lived experiences in incorporating nature-based interventions as a tool to improve youth social-emotional learning outcomes and promote positive youth development.
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Anthrozoös, May 2017

Animal-assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

In May 2017, Green Chimneys published a study exploring the effectiveness of an animal-assisted social skills intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Findings demonstrate that incorporating therapy dogs in social skills training is a valid approach to teaching children with ASD to engage with peers and improve social interaction.
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