Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture 28.1 - 2018


The Effect of Therapeutic Horticulture on the Psychological Wellbeing of Elderly in Singapore: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Angelia Sia, Kheng Siang Ted, Maxel K.W., Hui Yu Cha, Chay Hoon Tan, Iris Rawtaer, Lei Feng, Rathi Mahendran, Heok Kua, and Roger C.M. Ho

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a therapeutic horticulture intervention on the psychological well-being of elderly in multi-ethnic Singapore. In this randomized controlled trial, 59 elderly between the ages of 60 to 85 were recruited from a community in the country’s western district. They were randomly assigned to either the treatment or waitlist control group. The treatment group completed a 15-session therapeutic horticulture program before the waitlist control group started their intervention program. The psychological well-being of all the subjects was assessed at pre- and post-intervention. The survey instrument used was the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB). A significant improvement was observed in the scores of the SPWB subscale “positive relations with others” when comparing between the mean change between the treatment and control groups. The results of this study suggest that the therapeutic horticulture intervention might be effective in promoting the psychological well-being of the elderly in Singapore, through improving their positive relations with others.

Motivations and Perceptions of Urban Food Gardeners: Results from a Preliminary Study
Sarah R. Taylor, PhD

This article explores the motivations and experiences of a variety of urban food gardeners in Chicago, including those associated with residential, school, and community gardens, with an eye toward developing recommendations for garden-focused health promotion and education. Eight semi-structured interviews, an anonymous survey, and participant observation were used to systematically document and examine gardeners’ experiences. The results show that gardeners in this study were highly motivated by an ideology of food empowerment. Stress relief and the ability to connect positively with the physical or social environment were identified as major rewards. Barriers or challenges to urban food gardening included common pests, poor weather, lack of experience, and access to necessary resources, especially soil. Messages that speak to issues of food empowerment, and which tap into the momentum of the broader urban agriculture movement, may be useful for garnering support for garden-focused health programs across a variety of urban settings.

Offenders, Work, and Rehabilitation: Horticultural Therapy as a Social Cognitive Career Theory Intervention for Offenders 
Jaime Ascencio

Horticultural Therapy as a Social Cognitive Career Theory Intervention for Offenders People within the prison system, commonly referred to as offenders, are an important population to reach with vocational psychology. The number of people within the criminal justice system is rapidly increasing, yet funding cuts are frequent. To better reintegrate into society, offenders need adequate care and training, such as vocational skills, counseling, and addressing criminogenic concerns. Vocational psychology is uniquely equipped to aid offenders in their rehabilitation and reintegration. While further research is greatly needed, the current predominating vocational theory for offenders is Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) (Brown, 2011; Varghese & Cummings, 2012). This model is able to explain offenders and their vocational situations. Interventions can be designed to address this model’s components by using vocational horticultural therapy in prison populations. These interventions, when implemented in a more general vocational sense, have greatly improved recidivism rates and helped offenders with their various concerns (Jiler, 2006). Horticultural therapy is able to act as a unique vocational intervention for prisoners from the perspective of Social Cognitive Career Theory.