Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Marcus Rodriguez

Reader 2

Elise Ferree

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Rights Information

© 2022 Emily M Bisaga


Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a chronic brain disorder caused by both biological and environmental factors. Although there is no panacea for addiction, holistic adjunctive therapies have been found to improve outcomes for this population. Horticultural Therapy (HT) is one such adjunct therapy that may improve treatment outcomes. Although HT has been found to support holistic healing for many mental and physical ailments, the efficacy of this intervention has not been evaluated in patients with a SUD. The goal of this controlled, mixed-method study is to evaluate whether HT could be an effective component of a holistic SUD treatment program. Volunteers recently admitted to residential treatment will be randomized to receive an adjunctive HT or a control condition (additional housework and group therapy) over a 6-month treatment period. This study will compare the change in addiction severity, sense of empowerment, stress, motivation and ability to complete long-term goals and general wellbeing between participants who received HT condition and the control condition. Qualitative interviews will also be completed to understand the most beneficial components of the HT experience. Findings will be used to determine if HT may become a recommended addition to long-term SUD addiction treatment programs.