Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version




Positive psychology is concerned with guiding individuals toward the good life. It does so by defining well-being and providing ways to both measure and increase it. Often this pursuit of well-being requires and results in transformation and growth. Although personal growth can occur in many different settings - nature, specifically the wilderness, provides a compelling environment for just such transformational change. There are two distinct components to a wilderness experience: physical and psychological. Unique factors of the physical wilderness setting contribute to the profound psychological experiences that happen there. Through the lens of positive psychology, this paper will explore the transformative nature of nature. Awe, personal growth and transformation, self-efficacy, resilience, and optimism will be discussed. The author will draw liberally upon her own and other's wilderness adventure experience in order to illustrate the concepts presented. Suggestions for future research will be made.


Keywords: wilderness, nature, self-efficacy, awe, personal growth, transformation, positive psychology, resilience, optimism


Well-Being/Flourishing, Health/Wellness, Positive Emotions, Achievement, Character Strengths and Virtues





Date Posted: 06 January 2021