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Impact of Physical Disability on Pursuit of Gardening Activities in Mid-Aged Women

  • Nancy A. Pachana (a1), Judith L. Kidd (a1) and Fiona M. Alpass (a1)


Research on horticultural therapy approaches suggest that its positive impact on clients may extend beyond direct rehabilitation or vocational gains to more generally improved well-being. Persons in rehabilitation programs may relate to gardening as a previously enjoyed past time, or as a new activity for either leisure or employment purposes. While gardening is a popular leisure activity in many countries, few studies have looked at what specific gardening activities community-based populations pursue. As part of a larger mail-out survey looking at gardening interests of mid-aged women, a sub-sample of physically disabled women was compared to healthy age-matched women on gardening activities and interests. Physical and psychological functioning and well-being were also sampled. Both groups completed the SF-36 Health Survey for Australia/New Zealand, the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, and a gardening questionnaire tapping gardening activities and hours per month on these activities, as well as the reasons for pursuing gardening. Group differences emerged on physical and psychological functioning variables, but for virtually all gardening variables, group differences were minimal. Overall findings suggest that for this sample of mid-aged women, the presence of physical disability or limitation did not adversely affect their access to and enjoyment of gardening activities.


Corresponding author

Nancy Pachana Ph.D, Department of Psychology, University of QueenslandQLD 4072, Australia. Email:


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The Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling
  • ISSN: 1323-8922
  • EISSN: 1838-6059
  • URL: /core/journals/australian-journal-of-rehabilitation-counselling
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