Designing, implementing and evaluating a resilience-based life skills intervention for adolescents within West Wales via the ‘vehicle’ of golf
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Sport has been used as a ‘vehicle’ for youth development where coaches, researchers and practitioners have focused on a strengths-based approach to support adolescents’ transition into adulthood. Such a positive youth development (PYD) approach, rather than a deficit-reduction paradigm, has informed the creation of sport-based life skills interventions. Given the challenges and potential adversities that adolescents face during such a transition, interventions targeting life skills associated with resilience could provide a catalyst in supporting adolescents to manage challenging situations they currently face and those that they will face in the future as adults. However, sport-based life skills interventions utilising resilience as a theoretical basis are scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to design, pilot and implement a resilience-based life skills intervention and evaluate its effectiveness within the sport of golf. A secondary aim was to understand the role of the intervention facilitator, which in this case was a trainee sport psychology consultant (author). The context of this programme of research involved a collaborative partnership between a university and a small enterprise (golf club) based in a convergence zone (outlined by Welsh Government) as part of a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project. The purpose of pairing a research institution (university) and an external organisation (golf club) was to provide the opportunity for research to have a direct and immediate impact on society. Study 1 targeted the pilot process involved in designing a life skills intervention via an action research methodology. Three pilot interventions were delivered with separate participants. The key findings from Study 1 related to the importance placed upon building rapport with participants to aid potential life skill transfer, as well as the format and structure of sessions to support participant understanding of life skills. Following the pilot process, a 16-hour intervention was devised and subsequently implemented across four separate intervention groups as part of Study 2. A process and outcome evaluation was carried out through a mixed methods approach to determine the intervention’s efficacy and effectiveness. Continuing the action research methodology, Study 2 demonstrated the importance in the structure and contextual factors when implementing a life skills intervention. In addition, it aligned with previous research highlighting the importance towards building rapport with participants and targeting experiential learning as a key teaching strategy. Finally, the process of designing and delivering a life skills intervention to numerous groups of adolescents has highlighted the crucial importance of adapting content and structure towards the needs and abilities of the individuals. To capture the experiences of the author in delivering the intervention via an action research methodology, the thesis concludes with a reflective epilogue that documents his journey in developing as a practitioner and researcher. This programme of research has highlighted the contextual and interpersonal implications involved in designing and implementing a resilience-based life skills intervention. In addition to its novel approach of integrating resilience theory and life skills research, the practical applications could potentially support sport psychology practitioners, coaches and youth programme leaders in designing sport-based life skills interventions.
PhD Thesis - School of Sport
Funded by the European Social Fund (Welsh Government) via a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS)
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