Sarah Hoague, Psy.D., is a 2018 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Martha Straus, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Susan Hawes, PhD, Committee Member
  • William Slammon, PhD, Committee Member


social emotional learning, universal interventions, adventure education, IPA

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This dissertation documents an effort to spark an explicit conceptualization of the Adventure Curriculum for Physical Education (ACPE) as a universally delivered Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program. The ACPE program is a K-12 program that integrates adventure activities into a physical education curriculum for the purpose of fostering student social and emotional skills (Panicucci, Hunt, Constable, Kohut, & Rheingold, 2003). The ACPE program was first implemented in 1971. Initially inspired by the philosophy of Outward Bound, ACPE developers at Project Adventure sought to bring a sense of adventure to the school setting in order to support student self-empowerment. Although ACPE was developed prior to the advent of the SEL framework, it maintains goals closely aligned with the skills and activities that are integral to SEL. For example, ACPE program goals include student demonstration of adaptive personal and social behavior, interpersonal skills, decision making skills, goal setting, risk taking, problem solving, and student understanding and respect for individual differences (Panicucci et al., 2003).The aim of the present project was to generate themes pertaining to student experiences of ACPE programming. To this end, this project applied a qualitative research orientation to explore four middle school students’ perspectives on their own experiences and social emotional learning as participants in the ACPE program. Research methods followed the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, as presented by Smith and Osborn (2008). Participants included two 7th-grade students (1 female, 1 male), and two 8th-grade students (2 female) who were interviewed individually at school. Each participant was asked about experiences from Wellness classes based on ACPE programming. Three broad themes were identified from student accounts: (a) Novel Experiences, (b) Empowerment, and (c) Moral Development. Students recounted meaningful experiences as being novel, empowering, and incorporating adaptive, prosocial, and ethical connections with others. Examples of connections between student themes and SEL competencies (CASEL, 2005) were presented and may be useful in development of an explicit conceptualization of ACPE as an SEL program.


Sarah Hoague

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0003-2778-5015