Adolescent Coping Styles and Outdoor Education: Searching for the Mechanisms of Change


James T. Neill
Bernd Heubeck

Paper presented to the 1st International Adventure Therapy Conference, 1-5 July, Perth, Western Australia, 1997


The coping responses of Australian high school students involved in outdoor education programs were examined using a modified version of the Adolescent Coping Scale (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993a). Participants reported utilizing more productive coping strategies during the outdoor education programs than adolescents in normative settings. Open-ended responses showed use of some coping strategies specific to the situation such as thinking about home, sharing concerns around the campfire, using solo time, writing in a diary, and going to bed early. Finally, regression analysis found that non-productive strategies and solving the problem strategies were useful predictors of changes in psychological distress and well-being. This suggests that positive intervention in coping skills during outdoor education programs can contribute to improving mental health.

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