Adolescents’ experiences of a developmental coaching and outdoor adventure education program : Using constructive-developmental theory to investigate individual differences in adolescent meaning-making and developmental growth

Journal article


Gwyn, Wendy G. and Cavanagh, Michael J.. (2021). Adolescents’ experiences of a developmental coaching and outdoor adventure education program : Using constructive-developmental theory to investigate individual differences in adolescent meaning-making and developmental growth. Journal of Adolescent Research. 38(5), pp. 911-950. https://doi.org/10.1177/07435584211010805
AuthorsGwyn, Wendy G. and Cavanagh, Michael J.
Abstract

Using interpretative phenomenological analysis and Robert Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory, this study investigated how developmental stage shaped the subjective experiences of 13 adolescents (Mage = 15.92 years, 54% females) in a developmental coaching and outdoor adventure education program. Participants were drawn from socioeconomically disadvantaged schools in Sydney, Australia, and represented Asian, Middle Eastern, and European ethnicities. A single, semi-structured interview was conducted with participants postprogram, following protocols approved by an institutional ethics committee. Interview data were used to investigate participants’ meaning-making structures as evidence of constructive-developmental stage both at the time of interview and program participation. We found that, despite being similar ages at program commencement, participants displayed a range of constructive-developmental stages. The data demonstrate how participants at different stages of meaning-making experienced the same activities differently, including what they experienced as challenging and supportive. Furthermore, our findings suggest that there is a valuable role for developmental coaching in scaffolding program challenges to stimulate constructive-developmental growth. Constructive-developmental theory provides a novel framework for understanding the different ways in which adolescents make meaning of developmental programs. We hope the findings from this study will help those who design and implement these programs to appreciate constructive-developmental differences in their participants to better target interventions aimed at facilitating developmental growth.

Keywordsconstructive-developmental theory; outdoor adventure education; coaching psychology; challenge and support; meaning-making; adolescent development
Year2021
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Journal citation38 (5), pp. 911-950
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1552-6895
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/07435584211010805
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85106216280
Web address (URL)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/07435584211010805
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range911-950
FunderAustralian Research Council (ARC)
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 May 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited16 May 2023
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDLP140100041
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