Australian identity and the effect of an outdoor education program

Nola Purdie, James T. Neill, Garry E. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we investigated the relationship between adolescents' self-expressed identification with Australia and changes in measures of personal development following an outdoor education program. Social identity theory and stereotype threat theory provided a theoretical framework for the study. Three groups of high school students (high, medium, and low identification with Australia, N = 177) completed measures of personal effectiveness and self-concept two weeks prior to the outdoor program, immediately on completion, and 8 weeks later. The high identification group made greatest gains on the personal effectiveness scale. The medium group made small gains, and the low identification group made negligible gains. For overall self-concept gains were smaller and there was little differentiation between the groups. Maintenance of program effects over an 8-week period was moderate, though disappointing when compared with previous meta-analytic results showing the effects of outdoor education programs continuing to increase over time. Strategies to counter the psychological discounting and disengagement processes that are typical of how individuals attempt to cope with stereotype threat are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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