Positive Youth Development (PYD) may provide a meta-theory to wilderness therapy programs that are in need of greater theoretical clarity to conceptualize their work with youth. PYD has growing influence as an alternative to the problem oriented models youth intervention programs traditionally use I conducted this study to explore how familiar wilderness therapy programs were with PYD concepts and to help programs consider the value of adopting PYD as a theoretical orientation for their youth intervention programs. The current study was based on a review and analysis of three program evaluations involving interviews with program administrators, clinicians, and field instructors from each wilderness program. Program evaluations included an analysis of the programs' theory of change and mission and a Q-sort task ranking the importance of12 PYD concepts to their program. Results showed that wilderness therapy programs implicitly incorporate PYD concepts into their program theory of change and practices, but lacked an explicit awareness of PYD concepts. Without an explicit awareness these programs followed PYD practices without a conceptual basis for their systematic use within the program. The implicit references to PYD concepts suggest that PYD makes sense for wilderness therapy programs and could provide a theory of change that would help organize wilderness therapy programs' theoretical understanding, bolster their relationship with the field of psychology, and provide direction for outcome research.
|Advisor:||Furrow, James L.|
|School:||Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Developmental psychology, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Positive youth development, Program evaluation, Thriving, Wilderness therapy|
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