This is an extract from pages 30-31 and 50-51 of the research review
WHY ADVENTURE? THE ROLE AND VALUE OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE IN YOUNG PEOPLE'S PERSONAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
This page does not include all summary sections of the report.
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8.2 The GROUP dimension of Outdoor Adventure
8.3 The Influence of STAFF in Outdoor Adventure
8.4 SPORT, Physical Education and Outdoor Adventure
8.5 The ENVIRONMENT and Outdoor Adventure
Extract from Part Three of 'Why Adventure?'
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK
18. AIMS AND OUTCOMES OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE INTERVENTIONS: SUMMARY
18.1 Improvements caused by some applications of outdoor adventure in dimensions of self-concept, locus of control and in socialisation with peers and adults are likely to contribute to the process of healthy adolescent development. This may assist in diverting near delinquents and temporary delinquents from offending. School or community based enrichment programmes using developmental activities that appeal to young people, may help to reduce the prevalence of adverse factors in young people's lives (for example, school failure, bullying, teenage pregnancy, intra-familial conflict, removal to residential care settings).
18.2 Developmental prevention schemes that emphasise the enhancement of cognitive and social cognitive functioning in young people, whether they be non-delinquents, near or temporary delinquents or persistent delinquents, may be particularly effective in preventing and reducing offending behaviours. These findings may provide a basis for developing a clear rationale for the role of outdoor adventure in prevention schemes.
18.3 In order to reduce offending significantly, an emphasis upon enhanced pro-social and non-delinquent self-conceptions is necessary, alongside improvements in reasoning skills and social cognitive functioning. This is particularly true for persistent or serious young delinquents and offenders. Gains in pro-social self concept may be best achieved through close involvement with non-delinquents. This involvement may be provided by adult staff, but close association with non-delinquent peers seems to be of equal if not more importance in achieving this outcome.
18.4 As yet no clear rationales appear to exist for the role of outdoor adventure in rehabilitation. Some caution may be necessary in developing a rationale based on the above findings. In particular, outcomes of improved cognitive and social cognitive functioning appear to be dependent on an intensity of provision and an integrity of treatment process that may not be easy to replicate in all outdoor adventure settings.
18.5 Outdoor adventure applications that create 'cognitive dissonance' may enhance opportunities for cognitive and social cognitive development. Nevertheless many applications of outdoor adventure may be more readily utilised as an adjunctive provision alongside community-based cognitive and social cognitive training.
18.6 In the therapeutic treatment of emotionally or behaviourally disturbed young people, a more intensive developmental intervention is required. In this context, certain applications of outdoor adventure may potentially be valuable.
18.7 Improvements in self-concept and in social cognitive functioning may help to alleviate emotional or behavioural difficulties experienced by young people at risk from factors other than delinquency. However, caution is required in the development a rationale for this therapeutic application of outdoor adventure. These are evolving abroad, notably in the USA (surveyed in Brocklebank, 1993), but at present only a very small amount of 'adventure therapy' practice appears to take place in the UK.
18.8 Outdoor adventure with young people in trouble or at risk appears to be best used as an adjunctive resource to long term community-based provision appropriate to an individual young person's needs.
Assessment of needs
18.9 Some outdoor adventure, especially residential programmes, may be effective in assessing young people's needs for future intervention or follow-up. The communal setting, novel and challenging activities, and intense small group experiences combine to reveal characteristics which may not emerge in conventional treatment settings.
18.10 Small group participation in enjoyable outdoor adventure appears to improve individual socialisation which in turn may assist conflict resolution. Shared participation in challenging adventure activities can result in improved understanding, trust and communication between young participants and between young people and adult staff..
18.11 Although these findings are based only on anecdotal evidence, further research into the generalised potential of outdoor adventure in this area seems unnecessary. However, anecdotal evidence also provides examples of outdoor adventure experiences that have been counterproductive or divisive. Practice may therefore benefit from further research to determine the programme settings, styles and activities, and the characteristics, qualities and levels of involvement of staff that help to achieve desired outcomes (see fig 13). An examination of aspects of inappropriate programming and staffing would also be beneficial.
18.12 Programmes that enable young participants to be self-determining are more likely to result in positive developmental outcomes than those which impose rigid safety and behavioural regulations. Outdoor adventure programmes can provide opportunities for young people to be involved in programme planning, in establishing group norms, in group maintenance, and in communal 'chores'. They can also offer opportunities for young people to be involved in processes of monitoring and assessment, in the identification of personal 'goals' and in the determination of subsequent interventions and follow-up.
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