Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the Effect of Autonomous Student Experiences on Positive Youth Development
by Chang, Yun, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2017, 133; 10622190
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of the Autonomous Student Experiences (ASE), a specific course component of OAE programming, on promoting youth developmental outcomes, including youth autonomy and positive youth development (PYD). The ASE component in this study was carried out as the “Final Expedition,” where students traveled as a group with limited supervision from instructors. Three outdoor courses offered by Northwest Outward Bound School were selected with 25 subjects in total.

This study used a mixed-method quantitative and qualitative research design to explain and interpret the effect of ASE on youth autonomy and PYD. A questionnaire was developed to collect quantitative data measured by three scales, including Noom’s (1999) Adolescent Autonomy Questionnaire, Lerner et al.’s (2005) Positive Youth Development Short Form Measurement, and Characteristics of the ASE scale adapted from Sibthorp’s Characteristics of the Experience Scale (2000). This questionnaire was administered three times throughout the course, including the first day of course, the day before the ASE, and after participants finished the ASE. Qualitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews. These one-on-one phone interviews were conducted with selected participants about two weeks after they returned home from their field experiences.

Findings from the quantitative data analysis showed that the overall OAE program can be effective in facilitating adolescents’ levels of youth autonomy and PYD. ASE may afford the opportunity for “learning reinforcement”, refers to a chance for adolescents to reinforce developmental outcomes that have evolved early on during the course. However, the differences in adolescents’ youth autonomy and PYD levels before and after completing the ASE course component did not reach a statistical significance. Higher levels of autonomy were associated more with adolescents who played follower roles in the ASE compared to those who played leadership roles. Findings from the qualitative data further shed light on the underlying mechanisms for linking ASE with youth developmental outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ewert, Alan W.
Commitee: Koceja, David M., McCormick, Bryan P., Ramos, William D.
School: Indiana University
Department: Public Health
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-B 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Public health, Developmental psychology
Keywords: Autonomous student experiences, Autonomy, Final expedition, Outdoor adventure education, Positive youth development
Publication Number: 10622190
ISBN: 9780355252736
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