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Challenge and Support in Outward Bound:
The Double-Edged Sword

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James T. Neill
Katica Dias

Outward Bound International Newsletter, 10(1), 6, 2002

Main Points

  • Adventure education philosophers have argued that controlled exposure to challenge can enhance participants’ resilience.

  • Resilience is a psychological quality that allows a person to respond effectively to life’s challenges

  • 41 young adults in a 22-day OB Australia program reported very positive changes in their resilience

  • The higher the social support in the group, the greater the growth in resilience.

  • The least supportive group member had a negative impact on growth in resilience for other participants.

  • Instructors should try to minimize the potentially destructive influence of negative group members.

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