To what extent do outdoor pursuits camps positively impact on the psychological attributes of children?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The outdoor pursuits industry promotes they can develop numerous psychological characteristics such as self-esteem and social skills. Such promotional claims require empirical evidence to support them. However, there is a current lack of such evidence, which provides a rational for conducting this study. The primary aim of this study was to examine changes in psychological variables argued to be developed as a result of a 4 week residential outdoor pursuits course. The secondary aim was to identify the possible mechanisms for such changes. Questionnaires were issued to 11-15 year old boys in the first and last 72 hours of a residential course. They measured 5 key psychological constructs that had previously been assumed to show improvement. Self esteem, Goal orientation, Beliefs about causes of success, Basic needs and Social skills were all measured. Paired T-tests illustrated a change in 8 of the 13 constructs (Basic Needs, Self Esteem and Social skills). It was also found through a multiple regression analysis that autonomy mediated the relationship between social skills and self esteem which had not previously been publicised. The results have provided evidence for outdoor activity providers to substantiate their claims. Results can also be used to influence the design of camp structures, have effects on marketing strategies, staff training and most importantly the participants psychological development.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE
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