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Title: A mixed method evaluation of a wilderness therapy programme for "youth at risk"
Author: Wallis, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 8212
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract Most young people have the resources needed to achieve and succeed in life. However some are at risk of adverse life outcomes because of the difficulties they experience and a lack of resilience. These young people are known as Youth At Risk. The current context of the United Kingdom (UK) at this time is creating and perpetuating challenges for youth at risk. Wilderness Therapy (WT) has been identified as a potential intervention for youth at risk. WT integrates the benefits of the wilderness environment, activities, and forming new relationships, with the aim of facilitating resilience and positive outcomes for youth at risk. This study utilised a mixed method matched-control case-series design (small n) to evaluate a UK based WT programme for eight young people (three females, five males) considered at risk of adverse life outcomes. Self-report measures were used to investigate the effectiveness of WT in promoting mindfulness, self-esteem, psychological health, and improving emotional, behavioural, and relational symptoms. In addition, semi-structured interviews were used to collect qualitative information on participants' perspectives of the benefits of WT, and the processes that facilitated these benefits. The author analysed quantitative data for statistical and clinically significant change. Qualitative data was analysed using Braun and Clarke's (2006) thematic analysis. Results indicated statistically significant differences (with large effect sizes) between the WT and Control group at the end of the - 3 intervention period, on all measures. Clinically significant change analysis indicated that some of the participants' mindfulness and self-esteem scores moved from the dysfunctional to the functional range during WT. Triangulation of quantitative and qualitative findings indicated that, for some youth at risk, WT has the potential to enhance mindfulness, improve relationships with themselves and others, and facilitate positive life outcomes. However, not all young people are suited to WT, which was highlighted by three of the initial eight WT participants dropping out of the programme early. The findings were discussed in relation to previous research. Clinical implications, and recommendations for future research, were also presented.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available