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The role and development of life skills in young sports participants

Holland, Mark Joseph Greer (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Under the umbrella of positive youth development, life skills represent an important area of research for young people. The personal competencies a young person possesses determine his or her capacity to effectively navigate the turbulence of adolescence and grow into adulthood. An increased understanding of the role, function, and enhancement of life skills therefore serves a great purpose in the design and evaluation of youth development programs. This thesis aimed to extend the current knowledge and practices through targeting the gaps in the life skills literature. First, using a qualitative design, the specific needs of young elite athletes were investigated while outlining a proposed methodology for future needs analyses. The importance of developing life skills in young athletes was emphasised as it was found that young athletes required a range of both sport specific and life skills. Second, an investigation into the function of life skills found that reported possession of key life skills partially mediates the relationship between youth experiences and well-being, illustrating this role for the first time. However, within youth samples there was a broad range in the degree to which these skills are applied and transferred, reinforcing the call for deliberate developmental programming. The lack of adequate measures in life skills research was addressed through the validation of BRSQ with young sports participants. Support for the utility of this measure allows for the greater investigation into the mechanisms through which life skills function. Finally, a life skills program was designed following the recommendations of the predominant youth development frameworks and comprehensively evaluated. This thesis progresses existing literature regarding the role and function of life skills as well as providing insight into how to best promote and evaluate the teaching of life skills in applied research programs.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Duda, Joan L. (Joan Lynne) (1955-) and Cummings, Jennifer
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
GV Recreation Leisure
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3449
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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