Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Amber Nelson, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Kenneth Logan, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Cay Anderson-Hanley, Ph.D.


This clinical dissertation focused on the shift in one’s perception of God after time spent in nature in the context of a spiritual adventure program. There are studies that find spiritual adventure programs increase a participant’s spirituality (Bobilya, 2011). However, there is a gap in the literature surrounding how spiritual outdoor programs, specifically the one in this study, influences a person’s God-image. This dissertation aims to close the gap in research regarding spiritual adventure programs and shift in God-image by studying if a person’s image of God shifts after time spent in nature, and if it shifts differently depending on if they spend one day or 12 days in nature. Two types of college-level trips will be studied: overnight hiking and camping trips through an adventure program class, and a 12-day backpacking trip. Students will be given questionnaires that contain the God-Image Inventory, a 72-question measure to identify how a person conceptualizes God. Data from the questionnaires was utilized in both a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and a multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). The results of the MANOVA indicate post-nature, participants believed God to be more traditionally present, more accepting, more providential, and less influential in their lives in general Wilks Lambda=0.89, F(6,149) = 2.98, p = .01. The MANCOVA show that the interaction of time x group maintained significance observed in the first group of repeated measure MANOVAs, suggesting that God-image changes over time found in the MANOVA supersedes the comfortability in nature covariate. Recommendations for future research include performing the same study with a different sampling method, a different monotheistic religion, qualitative exit interview or in a period of time unaffected by COVID-19.

Included in

Psychology Commons