Mary B. Ballou
William Sanchez, Melissa Pearrow
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
Bouve College of Health Sciences, Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology
counseling psychology, adolescence, ethnic, girls, participatory action, program, strength-based
This mixed-methods study explores the relationships and social connections of urban middle school girls who participated in a strength-based, participatory action program- StrongLinks. It was developed under the framework of an existing youth program, Responsive Advocacy of Life and Learning (RALLY). The StrongLinks program was also evaluated as a secondary aim of this dissertation project. The participants were 11 urban adolescent girls from a variety of cultural backgrounds. The quantitative component of this project included an analysis of pre and post-group scores on two instruments developed from the foundations of the Relational Cultural Theory - the Relational Health Indices and the Mutual Psychological Development Questionnaire. The qualitative component included information collected through researcher observation, notes, group materials and pre and post-group semi-structured interviews with the girls. The quantitative results did not indicate the girls' participation in the StrongLinks curriculum increased levels of relational competence or perceived mutuality in their relationships. The qualitative portion of the data, however, indicated other meaningful aspects of relational growth, knowledge and awareness. The present research findings demonstrate how girl-centered, strength-based and feminist methodologies can offer a "body of research" that is reflective of a group of urban girls' experiences and relationships. By developing programs with girls to support them, their voices can become more prominent and understood in policy, research, and practice.
Christina C. Tortolani
Tortolani, Christina C., "StrongLinks: a mixed methods study exploring urban ethnic girls' experiences, connections and relationships" (2010). Counseling Psychology Dissertations. Paper 27. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20000992
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