Research in Outdoor Education




Outdoor adventure education (OAE) experiences provide a unique context for adolescents to develop social connections with their peers. The social group atmosphere is a complex area to study due to the group's multiple components. This study examined key components of a social group model to understand the influences they have on the development of social connections. Using a group identification framework, this study investigated how 237 students from 22 different courses from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) connected with their groups. The results suggest that goal conflict with other students, social status, leadership consideration and gender ratio were significantly related to the affective and cognitive dimensions of group identification. Suggestions for administrators and instructors are discussed so that OAE experiences can be better tailored to meet the developmental needs of adolescents. The social group remains an important component to all OAE programs but needs further investigation to highlight the intricacies involved in developing social connections within group settings.