STUDENT RESILIENCY: A MIXED METHODS ANALYSIS OF COUNSELING GROUP EFFECTS.
Pickering, Cyril Emmanuel
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Student resiliency, or the internal resources that an individual possesses that enables success despite adversity, is a variable of interest, particularly for students who are at-risk for negative outcomes in school. This study examined the group counseling efforts of an alternative high school, looking at how group composition influenced the growth in scores on the Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents, a measure of student resiliency that students were given at the beginning and end of the year. In addition to this quantitative analysis, students who participated in the groups and counselors who facilitated the groups were interviewed regarding the effectiveness and challenges of the groups, as well as how the groups impacted Sense of Mastery, Sense of Relatedness and Emotional Reactivity, the three areas of resiliency that were being measured. Each interviewee provided feedback regarding ways that the groups could help students grow in resilience. Results from the quantitative analysis indicated the aggregated starting resiliency scores of the other group members had no impact on a student’s growth in any of the resiliency scales. A second analysis revealed some correlations between group growth in resiliency and a student’s growth in resiliency, seemingly indicating that as the group improves in certain measures, individual growth is hindered. Results from the qualitative analysis revealed overall positive impressions of the group counseling experience and statements about how the groups helped improve resiliency. Several common themes among students and counselors emerged regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the group counseling approach. Implications for implementation and evaluation of group counseling are discussed.