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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the impact and value of a personal development program on adolescents Scotten, Sandey A.


Adolescence has been characterized as a formative time of stress, anxiety, and change. Any index of adolescent development confirms the fact that this is a difficult developmental period. Youths are dealing with demands from a myriad of directions and thus require guidance and skill to optimally grow through this stage. An affective, personal development program designed to address adolescent needs is investigated in this study. Although the literature supports the need for affective, developmental education, little empirical evidence exists to document the impact, value and validity of such educational programs. This study tested a hypothesis that an affective, personal development program would enhance the overall psychological well-being of adolescent participants. A secondary hypothesis was that this educational training would have a differential outcome for gender. Sixty nine subjects, aged fourteen to nineteen, completed the Personal Orientation Inventory: 37 females, 26 males, and 6 returnees. The POI is purported to measure positive mental health; the interviews and questionnaires were designed to reflect the participants' self-perceived gains. Statistical analyses indicated significant positive changes on all POI scales for the pooled male and female scores. Gender differences were found, favoring females, on the two POI major scales and six of the ten subscales. All findings, qualitative and quantitative, indicate that an affective personal development program does enhance personal and interpersonal growth, thus the overall psychological well-being of adolescents. This program, although beneficial to both males and females, appears to have a more favorable outcome for females.

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