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Northwest Missouri State University

Library Home » Electronic Theses » Recreation » Kari L. Stock

The Effect of Equine Facilitated Learning on Life Skills of Youth At-risk

Author: Kari L. Stock
M.S. in Recreation
Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
May 2011
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Today's youth face a plethora of behavioral, psychosocial, and environmental challenges. These circumstances can place them at- risk of experiencing further behavioral and psychosocial difficulty and can ultimately contribute to undesirable outcomes such as dropping out of school, early pregnancy, or even death (McWhirter et al., 2004). Researchers have identified various environmental circumstances, behavioral patterns, and personal life skills that can enable a child’s resiliency to risk factors (Resnick, Bearman, & Blum, 1997; Search Institute, 2007; Vance, Fernandez, & Biber, 1998). Equine Facilitated Learning is one potential means of enhancing the life skills of at-risk youth. This study examined the effect of Equine Facilitated Learning on life skills in at-risk youth. A static group pretest posttest design was utilized, comparing those who took part in Equine Facilitated Learning to those who were in a control group. Groups completed a self reported life skills measure at pretest and posttest. Participants participated in a 7-week Equine Facilitated Learning program. Results indicated no significant differences between groups, yet the difference in means displayed a change in a positive direction. Study results and limitations warrant further research in Equine Facilitated Learning. Pertinent recommendations for future research and practice collecting qualitative data and the development of a comprehensive data collection process, partnering with multiple programs.