Australian Identity and the Effect of an Outdoor Education Program


Nola Purdie
James T. Neill

Australian Journal of Psychology, 54(1), 32-39, 2002


In this study we investigated the relationship between adolescentsí self-expressed identification with Australia and changes in measures of personal development following an outdoor education program. Social identity theory and stereotype threat theory provided a theoretical framework for the study. Three groups of high school students (high, medium, and low identification with Australia, N = 177) completed measures of personal effectiveness and self-concept two weeks prior to the outdoor program, immediately on completion, and eight weeks later. The high identification group made greatest gains on the personal effectiveness scale. The medium group made small gains, and the low identification group made negligible gains. For overall self-concept, gains were smaller and there was little differentiation between the groups. Maintenance of program effects over an eight week period was moderate, though disappointing when compared with previous meta-analytic results showing the effects of outdoor education program continue to increase over time. Strategies to counter the psychological discounting and disengagement processes that are typical of how individuals attempt to cope with stereotype threat are discussed.

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