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Title: An investigation into the benefits and processes of adventure training among disaffected and at-risk populations
Author: Evans, Martin
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Despite the popularity and potential value of adventure activity (AA) programmes, support for the potential claims of these therapeutic interventions to change behaviour, improve social relationships and improve self-concept has been mixed. The present study is an ethnographic investigation into the effects of participation in AA with a particular emphasis upon self-concept that seeks to move beyond description into one of explanation concerning the processes by which changes may be elicited. The study sample consists of three intervention programmes for disadvantaged and at-risk populations. The first is a Pathways to Employment project for disadvantaged youth (n = 10); the second, a Youth Offending Team programme for at-risk youth (n = 9); and the third, a JobMatch programme for unemployed adults (n = 33). Findings indicate that the AA programmes made an important and meaningful contribution towards the positive development of self-concept and may also facilitate positive behaviour change among participants. A number of affective and cognitive components emerged strongly from the data that show improvements to self-esteem, mood and self-confidence (self-efficacy). These in turn appear to effect behavioural changes exhibited and reported by participants. Participants describe improvements in attitudes and behaviour expressed as being more ready to overcome anxiety in fearful situations, take on new challenges, act in a more agentic and self-determined manner and be more trusting of others. A number of elements such as the concept of ‘challenge by choice’, the application of constructive dissonance and the personal characteristics of instructors/ staff created an autonomy-supportive environment that facilitated participants to engage internal sources of motivation which appear to play a significant part in the adventure training process. Findings also suggest that the AA represented mastery-oriented situations engendering cogent perceptions of risk and danger allowing displays of competence described as ‘self-esteem moments’ that accounted for elevated levels of self-esteem and self-competence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)