Research Topic

Recontextualising Psychological Interventions in the Outdoors

About this Research Topic

Supported by theories such as biophilia and ecological systems, the restorative capacity of the outdoors has long been known. We now have strong empirical evidence for the benefits of spending time outdoors and around nature, which include biological (e.g., physical health and physiological stress responses), psychological (e.g., mood and cognition), social (e.g., openness and connection with others), and spiritual (e.g., interconnectivity and life purpose). As this evidence-base has grown, so have the number of psychological interventions incorporating the outdoors to support outcomes. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further prompted an influx of psychological interventions to relocate outdoors, as a way of ensuring interventions can continue safely.

The integration of psychological support and the outdoors has brought with it great opportunity for enhancing provision, but also areas of uncertainty that require further understanding. Issues facing practitioners include how best to adapt models, interventions and practices that were originally intended for indoor use, as well as further understanding the impact a change in context has on intervention content, processes and outcomes. The overarching aim of this Research Topic is to promote safety, effectiveness, and ethical practice when recontextualising psychological interventions outdoors. In support of this aim, we are seeking interdisciplinary learning from psychological interventions situated in a range of geographical locations and settings, such as mental health, educational, organizational, forensic, health and sport psychology.

The term ‘psychological intervention’ is used in its broadest sense to describe any form of structured psychological support. Specific topics may include, but are not limited to:
• The efficacy and effectiveness of psychological interventions that have been adapted from indoor settings to be used outdoors
• Experiences of intervention development/adaptation, assessing client/patient suitability, and managing risk when moving outdoors (including perspectives from clients, patients, practitioners, and other stakeholders)
• Comparisons of outdoor vs. indoor interventions
• Cultural, social, and political issues when relocating outdoors
• Issues around fidelity when drawing from an indoor evidence-base
• The degree to which the outdoors and nature is incorporated into the intervention when relocating outdoors
• Issues around the role and expertise of the practitioner when relocating outdoors

We encourage researchers to contribute original research, review articles, case reports, and opinion papers, as well as other types of contributions supported by the respective Frontiers journal.


Keywords: Environmental Psychology, Ecopsychology, Nature Connectedness, Outdoor Therapy, Biophilia, Ecological Systems, Walk and Talk


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Supported by theories such as biophilia and ecological systems, the restorative capacity of the outdoors has long been known. We now have strong empirical evidence for the benefits of spending time outdoors and around nature, which include biological (e.g., physical health and physiological stress responses), psychological (e.g., mood and cognition), social (e.g., openness and connection with others), and spiritual (e.g., interconnectivity and life purpose). As this evidence-base has grown, so have the number of psychological interventions incorporating the outdoors to support outcomes. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further prompted an influx of psychological interventions to relocate outdoors, as a way of ensuring interventions can continue safely.

The integration of psychological support and the outdoors has brought with it great opportunity for enhancing provision, but also areas of uncertainty that require further understanding. Issues facing practitioners include how best to adapt models, interventions and practices that were originally intended for indoor use, as well as further understanding the impact a change in context has on intervention content, processes and outcomes. The overarching aim of this Research Topic is to promote safety, effectiveness, and ethical practice when recontextualising psychological interventions outdoors. In support of this aim, we are seeking interdisciplinary learning from psychological interventions situated in a range of geographical locations and settings, such as mental health, educational, organizational, forensic, health and sport psychology.

The term ‘psychological intervention’ is used in its broadest sense to describe any form of structured psychological support. Specific topics may include, but are not limited to:
• The efficacy and effectiveness of psychological interventions that have been adapted from indoor settings to be used outdoors
• Experiences of intervention development/adaptation, assessing client/patient suitability, and managing risk when moving outdoors (including perspectives from clients, patients, practitioners, and other stakeholders)
• Comparisons of outdoor vs. indoor interventions
• Cultural, social, and political issues when relocating outdoors
• Issues around fidelity when drawing from an indoor evidence-base
• The degree to which the outdoors and nature is incorporated into the intervention when relocating outdoors
• Issues around the role and expertise of the practitioner when relocating outdoors

We encourage researchers to contribute original research, review articles, case reports, and opinion papers, as well as other types of contributions supported by the respective Frontiers journal.


Keywords: Environmental Psychology, Ecopsychology, Nature Connectedness, Outdoor Therapy, Biophilia, Ecological Systems, Walk and Talk


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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