Article Title

"I love being in the outdoors": A qualitative descriptive study of outdoor adventure education program components for adolescent wellbeing


Background: This qualitative descriptive study gauged the perceptions of adolescentfocus group participants and outdoor adventure education teachers on their preferredprogram components to improve adolescent wellbeing during a secondary schooloutdoor adventure education program.

Methods: Five student focus groups (N= 29) and four key informant interviews wereconducted. Manual clustering of transcripts and template thematic analysis involvingthe development of a priori codes from interview questions resulted in an initialdeductive code frame, followed by an inductive coding process.

Findings: Six themes were developed, namely perceptions of the outdoors, motivatorsfor participation, barriers to participation, stafftraits, and ideal program components.The mainfindings were that self‐efficacy, resilience, and individual empowermentopportunities were highly valued. Students also valued autonomy and independence,which presented a challenge for teachers managing the risks of their programs. Socialconnections and relationships were also held in high regard.

Contribution: Whilst adrenalin‐fuelled adventurous activities such as white watercanoeing or rock climbing were popular with students and staff, the most valuedaspects of outdoor adventure education were the opportunities to develop relation-ships, build social connections, self‐efficacy, resilience, and a sense of individualempowerment. Greater access to this style of education for adolescent students fromlower socio‐economic areas would be beneficial due to the extant“opportunity gap”for this population.


adolescent, engagement, outdoor adventure education, wellbeing

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