How do outdoor recreation activities for families affect wellbeing? Do you have evidence from your organisation?

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing  is reviewing the evidence on how participating in outdoor recreation can affect the wellbeing of families.

Why are we doing this?

There is evidence being outdoors in the natural environment- whether ‘green’ (land-based) or ‘blue’ (water-based)- benefits our physical and mental health, and wellbeing. It has been shown to improve mood and self-esteem, reduce anxiety and depression, and impact positively on social relations.
Evidence also suggests that an adult or child’s physical activity and engagement in outdoor environments is impacted by whether their family encourages or resists these pursuits.

The aim of this systematic review is to assess the self-reported wellbeing outcomes of outdoor recreation in family contexts and examine the processes by which these wellbeing outcomes are achieved.

What will our review look at?

  • What? We will look at participation in recreational outdoor activities (in which family members are watching or taking part) and where the intervention is designed to enhance wellbeing.
  • Who? Families – whether they live in the same household or not. This will include any group of 2 or more people who are in a relationship or related to each other – whether they are siblings, parents/children, or other members of family networks.
  • How? The review will also look at examples of the process by which wellbeing outcomes are achieved.
  • Types of activities may include: games, exercise, outdoor adventure and recreation, walking & hiking, cycling, riding, skating, picnics, surfing, swimming, bird watching, camping, angling, sailing, geocaching, etc.
  • Outdoor spaces may include: streets, parks, mountains, beaches, allotments, rivers & canals, and other ‘green’ or ‘blue’ spaces, etc.

How can you get involved?

We are looking for good quality evidence that can help us answer these questions, in particular ‘grey literature’.

By grey literature we mean “literature that is not formally published in sources such as books or journal articles.” This may be produced by charities, governments, businesses, community groups and others; and may include reports, theses or dissertations, trials, and more.

In this instance we are looking for evaluation reports.

We are looking for evidence that meets the following criteria:

  • submissions must be evaluation reports only
  • reports submitted must be completed in the past 10 years (2007-2017) and include author details (individuals, groups or organisations). We can only accept evidence which can be made publicly available.
  • evaluation methods may be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods
  • the central report objective must be the measurement of wellbeing outcomes and/or evaluation of the processes by which wellbeing outcomes are achieved

How to submit your evidence

Please send your submissions electronically to the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (evidence@whatworkswellbeing.org), with the subject line Call for evidence: families and outdoor recreation.

All submissions should be received by 13 December 2017.

Please note that evidence can only be reviewed for inclusion in the work of the Culture and Sport programme if submitted through this call. Evidence submitted to individual researchers in the programme cannot be considered. If you have previously sent documents to the culture and sport team please re-submit through this call.

Research protocol

You can find the full research protocol for this review on PROSPERO, at this link: https://tinyurl.com/y8xcqewb