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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

The Wildman Programme-Rehabilitation and Reconnection with Nature for Men with Mental or Physical Health Problems-A Matched-Control Study

Høegmark, Simon; Andersen, Tonny Elmose; Grahn, Patrik; Mejldal, Anna; Roessler, Kirsten K.


Men with health problems refuse to participate in rehabilitation programmes and drop out of healthcare offerings more often than women. Therefore, a nature-based rehabilitation programme was tailored specific to men with mental health problems, and long-term illnesses. The rehabilitation programme combines the use of nature, body, mind, and community spirit (NBMC) and is called the ‘Wildman Programme’. The presented study was designed as a matched-control study with an intervention group participating in the Wildman Programme (N = 114) compared to a control group receiving treatment as usual (N = 39). Outcomes were measured at baseline (T1), post-intervention (T2), and 6 months post-intervention (T3). The primary outcome was the participants’ quality of life measured by WHOQOL-BREF, which consists of four domains: physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment. The secondary outcomes were the level of stress measured by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the participants’ emotional experience in relation to nature, measured by the Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS). The intervention group improved significantly in the physical and psychological WHOQOL-BREF domains and in PSS at both follow-ups. The participants’ interest in using nature for restoration increased significantly as well. The only detectable difference between the control group and the intervention group was in the WHOQOL-BREF physical domain at the 6-month follow-up. For further studies, we recommend testing the effect of the Wildman Programme in an RCT study.


chronic diseases; instoration; long-term illnesses; mental health; NBMC method; nature-based rehabilitation; restorative environments; stress; supportive environments; quality of life

Published in

International journal of environmental research and public health
2021, volume: 18, number: 21, article number: 11465

Authors' information

Høegmark, Simon
University of Southern Denmark
Andersen, Tonny Elmose
University of Southern Denmark
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of People and Society
Mejldal, Anna
University of Southern Denmark
Roessler, Kirsten K.
University of Southern Denmark

Associated SLU-program

Built environment
SLU Urban Futures

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
SDG3 Good health and well-being

UKÄ Subject classification

Occupational Therapy
Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)