Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


MSN project

First Advisor

Dr. Carey Martin



Problem: Therapeutic gardening is gaining popularity as a complementary intervention for addiction recovery, but traditional substance abuse facilities rarely use it. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic gardening as an alternative therapy to support adult men with substance abuse disorder who have a history in the judicial system.

Context: The study was conducted at a 30-bed drug and alcohol residential facility program in Santa Clara County, serving adult men who have had previous involvement in the judicial system. The program uses a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approach and indoor group meetings to foster positive health outcomes.

Interventions: A 15-week therapeutic gardening program was implemented to improve lasting sobriety and empower participants with effective coping strategies using outdoor green care.

Measures: A comprehensive mixed-methodology study was conducted to gather both quantitative and qualitative data through interim and exit surveys, participant interviews, and observations.

Results: The findings indicated that most participants (59%) agreed or strongly agreed that their mood improved after gardening, and 39% strongly agreed that they could use gardening as a tool in their recovery process. Additionally, 37% agreed that being outside in the garden made it easier to cope with cravings, and 56% agreed that it would have a positive impact on their sobriety.

Conclusion: The study showed that therapeutic gardening had a positive impact on the participants, who expressed interest in using it to aid in their sobriety.