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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Reducing stress in adolescent girls through Outdoor Experiential Education
by Frank, Danny, M.A., Prescott College, 2009, 123; 1469938
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the effectiveness of an Outdoor Experiential Education (OEE) curriculum in reducing stress and promoting stress-management tools among adolescent girls at Woodland Hills, a residential treatment center, located in Duluth, MN. The program was implemented in the context of an existing Outdoor Adventure Program, and was specifically designed to meet the needs of girls in a new mental health unit at the facility. A mixed method research design, viewed through grounded theory was enlisted to measure the impact of the curriculum. Research tools included the Beck Youth Inventories-II (BYI-II) surveys and activity-specific journal exercises. In order to better qualify the outcomes of the study, the BYI-II, a standardized tool measuring self-concept, anxiety, depression, anger, and disruptive behavior, was also administered to a similar group of Woodland Hills' clients, who did not participate in the curriculum. While the survey data did not present conclusive evidence of the OEE curriculum's influence on the aforementioned psychological traits, journal data indicated that students had an overall positive experience in the program. The results demonstrated insight and exploration on the part of participants in five areas: (1) preliminary physical and emotional status, (2) explicit physical and emotional responses, (3) stressors, (4) coping mechanisms and supports, and (5) cultural identity. What prevailed in these areas was a strong connection with participants to relational aspects of their experiences, as well as an apparent sense of joy, openness, relaxation, and renewal related to the outdoor setting. While this research was primarily concerned with results as they pertain to the specific context of the Woodland Hills program, the data is also examined for its potential significance in the larger fields of experiential education and adolescent psychology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ustin, Arlene
Commitee: Leach, Shari, Steiner, Mary
School: Prescott College
Department: Adventure Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 48/02M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical education, Clinical psychology, Recreation
Keywords: Adolescent psychology, Adventure education, Experiential education, Positive psychology, Residential treatment, Resilience
Publication Number: 1469938
ISBN: 978-1-109-44217-5
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