Into the back 40 : middle-aged women, divorce, resilience, and outdoor programs
Friedley, Katherine Joan
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This study examines the relationship between multi-day nature-based outdoor programs, resilience development, and divorced women between the ages of 40 and 60. The overarching purpose of the study was to determine what elements to include in outdoor programs to positively affect resilience development in middle-aged divorced women, and to determine an evaluation basis for such programs. The study is underpinned by Richardson’s (2002) metatheory of resilience, the third wave of which focuses on effective motivation of internal resources to foster resilience development. Six divorced women between the ages of 41 and 58 participated in a weekend outdoor program which took place in the Canadian Rockies in late November 2018, as well as pre and post interactions over several months. The study used narrative inquiry methodology contextualized within action research methodology (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Herr & Anderson, 2005; Wicks, Reason, & Bradbury, 2008; Given, 2008). It employed pre-adventure semi-structured interviews, online and telephone conversations, personal observations, in-session journaling exercises, a post-adventure focus group interview, and pre- and post-adventure resilience measurements (Liamputtong, 2011; Wagnild & Young, 1993). Analysis of the individual narrative inquiries identified disruptive factors (program elements), resilience catalysts (opportunities provided by the program for disruption), and areas of resilience development, illustrating a positive relationship between the program elements and resilience development for each participant. Resilience scale measurement results contradicted the narrative results in two of six participants, showing a decrease in resilience post-adventure, illustrating resilience domain specificity (Infurna & Luthar, 2018; Luthar, 2015), and highlighting the need for future studies to examine resilience transference (Neill & Dias, 2001).
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