The Effect of an Adventure-based Recreation Program on Development of Resiliency in Low Income Minority Youth


  • Gary T. Green
  • Douglas A. Kleiber
  • Michael A. Tarrant


Adventure-based recreation, At-risk Youth, Educational Processing, Protective Factors, Resilience


This study examined the effect of an adventure-based recreation program, with an educational processing component, on the development of resilience in low income, minority youth. Adventurebased recreation programs have traditionally relied upon the challenges of the outdoor experience, with some processing, to promote changes in youth behavior. However, many pro grams are now emphasizing the use of an educational processing component, where participants are coached to make. associations between activity-related experiences and other aspects of their lives (e.g., negotiating problems and learning new skills). In this study, an adventure-based ropes-course program was offered as an additional activity of a summer recreation program directed at minority youth from 10 to 16 years of age from public housing areas within a middle-sized southeastern city. Twenty-five adolescents from the summer program volunteered to participate in the ropes-course program, which consisted of eight high elements and eight low elements, for four hours, one day per week, for six weeks. Facilitators operated the ropes-course program and conducted educational processing with the participants prior to, during, and after each activity. For purposes of comparison, ninety-five adolescents were randomly drawn from the summer program and fifty-seven adolescents were randomly drawn from a local middle school. An adapted questionnaire based upon research by Witt, Baker and Scott (1996), designed to assess resilience through improvement in "protective factors," was administered as pre- and post-tests to all groups. Results showed that five protective factor scores for the treatment group improved significantly, relative to the other groups. Looking to the future, the identification of specific components within adventure-based activities that can help to promote particular aspects of resilience in at-risk youth holds promise for improved programming for this population.





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