August 20, 2018
Adventure challenge sets rangatahi for life
Giving rangatahi an adventure is a great way to improve their mental health and prepare them for life's challenges.
That's the conclusion of a study on adventure education published in the latest Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences.
Lead author Hitaua Arahanga-Doyle, a PhD student at Otago University’s Department of Psychology, looked at the seven day youth voyages on the R. Tucker Thompson, a gaff-rigged schooner based in the Bay of Islands.
The youth that take part in the voyages are predominantly Maori and drawn almost exclusively from Northland.
She says the voyages increased psychological resilience for the youth, in large part because they had to work as a group to deal with the new and often demanding situations on the voyage rather than tackling them as individuals.
That fits with kaupapa Māori views of health and identity.
Study supervisor Damian Scarf says the results of the study point towards viewing adventure education as a useful tool in combating mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, especially among adolescent Māori and adolescents from low socio-economic backgrounds, who are disproportionately represented in New Zealand mental health statistics.
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