The effects of an adventure education intervention of self-concept and verbal academic achievement in inner-city adolescents

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett - Committee Chair


High school dropout is a major social, educational, and economic problem in the United States. More than 600,000 young people drop out of public school annually, at an estimated cost to society of $120 billion in lost productivity during their lifetimes. The Summer Scholarship Program (SSP) is an intensive six-week dropout prevention adventure education program conducted by Outward Bound. The program targets students who are at risk for dropping out of high school and has many of the features that have been identified with successful dropout prevention programs. In order to increase academic success, the intervention attempts to increase verbal academic self-concept, general academic self-concept, and global self-concept as well as verbal academic achievement; however, the program has not been empirically studied. The current study examined potential change in the program participants' self-concept and verbal academic achievement using the Self Description Questionnaire - II and a composite from the Wechsler individual Achievement Test, respectively. Using a quasi-experimental design, the measures were administered to 57 SSP participants and 36 no-treatment comparison participants in pre- and post-test manner. Hierarchical multiple regression was utilized to identify post-test differences between the experimental and control groups on the dependent measures. The results indicate that participation in the SSP is related to positive changes in verbal academic achievement but is not associated with increases in self-concept. Interpretations and implications of the results are presented, and future directions for research are discussed.


Education, Educational Psychology; Education, Secondary; Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text