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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Children's perspectives on relationships with non-parental adults : insights from a structured intergenerational program Groendal, Reky Suarima Martha


A considerable number of studies have documented the importance of the relationships between adolescents and non-parental adults as contributors to development. However, few studies have investigated these relationships in middle childhood. Even fewer studies have explored how the qualities of such relationships contribute to positive outcomes. Considering the gaps in this field of study, the present study explored the qualities of relationships between children in middle childhood and non-parental adults that developed in a structured, intergenerational, environmental education program, completed as a part of children’s environmental science curriculum. Specifically, this study investigated (a) whether children who were involved in this program had more positive attitudes, behaviors, and learning compared to students who were not in the program and (b) how children characterized the qualities of the relationships that developed, and (c) whether those relationships between children and non-parental adult volunteers in the program contributed to the outcomes (N = 211). Results showed that children in the program had more positive attitudes and learning toward environmental issues than children in the comparison group. Qualities of relationship examined also showed positive relations with children’s perceptions of affiliation with the non-parental adults and bonding toward the program, as well as student reported positive outcomes (attitudes, behaviors, and learning regarding environmental issues). Implications and limitations of the study are discussed, as well as directions for future research.

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