Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Downey, Laura Hall

Committee Member

Peterson, Donna J.

Committee Member

Swortzelm, Kirk A.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agricultural and Extension Education

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


Previous studies suggest there are numerous benefits of horticultural therapy programs. The current study explored the benefits of a horticultural therapy program with elderly populations at two facilities in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Fifteen participants attended a 2-hour session on horticulture techniques once a week for four weeks. Using a pretest to posttest study design, changes in participants’ cognition, quality of life, and loneliness were assessed. The pretest was administered verbally by the researcher before the first session and the posttest, including a series of questions about satisfaction with the program, was administered after the last session. Items on each assessment included the Mini-Mental State Exam, the Assessment of Quality of Life, and the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale. Findings suggest that participants’ cognitive ability significantly improved after participation in the program while quality of life and loneliness perception did not significantly improve. Participants perceived the program as positive and enjoyable.