Dr. Kazuaki MAEBARA is an Associate Professor at the Akita University. He worked as a certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and Researcher at National Institute of Vocational Rehabilitation in Japan.
Yukiko GOTO is a Certified Psychiatric Social Worker and a former Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Japan. She works at Tsukuba University of Technology (Japan), as a Career Counselor for deaf and hard of hearing students. Her research interests include transition from school to work for college students with disabilities.
Jun YAEDA, Rh.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. He has worked in the field of rehabilitation for the past 30 years, and has over 100 professional publications in the field of vocational rehabilitation.
Purpose: Vocational horticultural therapy seems effective in the recovery of individuals with psychiatric disabilities; however, few studies have explored the factors underlying the effectiveness of such therapeutic intervention in the context of psychosocial vocational rehabilitation. While many jobs are available in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, agricultural jobs are often limited, especially at sheltered workshops for individuals with disabilities (Type B Support Centres) in Japan.
Methods: A mail survey was conducted with 119 administrators of Type B Support Centres in Akita Prefecture, a northern area of Japan. Respondents were asked to complete the “Efficacy of Agricultural Vocational Rehabilitation” (EAVR) questionnaire which was developed by the authors of this article.
Results: The results of exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors: “Assurance” and “Place of Exchange.” There was no significant difference between the perceived effectiveness of vocational horticultural therapy in farming and non-farming job categories. Support Centres that offered farming opportunities seemed to provide more direct job opportunities, preferences, and possibilities. On the other hand, Centres that did not offer farming seemed to focus more on central administration, operational management, independent handling of matters, and collaboration with other support institutions.
Conclusion: While Type B Support Centres in Japan offer support in farming jobs, they do not provide enough support for horticultural therapy for people with psychiatric conditions. To promote collaboration between Type B Support Centres that offer farming jobs and social welfare centres that have expertise in horticultural therapy, it is necessary to disseminate knowledge about the benefits of horticultural therapy.
Limitation:As this study was an analysis of a survey within a limited range of the Type B Support Centres in Akita Prefecture, future studies should investigate whether the results are generalisable to other metropolitan areas and local regions nationwide.