In 2014 we received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to conduct a large scale longitudinal research project, building on the foundational retrospective and prospective studies that we have completed with youth, as well as our research with service providers.
The longitudinal study compares youth from our
three core RILS programs at Holland Bloorview, ErinoakKids and McMaster
Children’s Hospital with three groups of control youth who are not currently involved
in a RILS program. Control youth will be recruited through our partner sites,
GrandviewKids, Lansdowne Children’s Centre and Thames Valley Children’s Centre.
The three control groups are made up of:
(a) youth who applied to participate in one of the RILS programs and have been deferred for a year
(b) youth who are taking part in a life skills program that is non-residential
(c) youth who are not in any group life skills program.
We are collecting three main types of data:
- Data regarding youth outcomes over time
Youth from all control groups are providing quantitative data related to Self-Determination and Self-Efficacy over the course of one year. We are using the Arc’s Self-Determination Scale (Wehmeyer & Kelchner, 1995) and the General Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) to measure youth outcomes for these variables. For youth who are involved in a Life Skills program, this data is collected one month before the program begins, and one week, three months and one year after the end of the program. For youth who are not involved in a RILS program, data is collected at a baseline time, with follow up collections at one month, three months and 12 months later.
- Observational data on youth experiences and program opportunities, are being collected during the course of each of the core RILS groups. This data includes:
- Assessment of the qualities and opportunities available in activity settings during the RILS program (using the MEQAS measure).
- Youth self-reported experiences with the activities as they are participating in during the RILS program, recorded in the moment using the SEAS measure
- Observation of the strategies used by service providers during RILS program activities (using the SPS-C)
- These measures can be downloaded for free from the Flintbox website. See the Publications, Research Tools and Resources page for details
- Qualitative youth and parent interviews, conducted before and after the Life Skills progra
- We are inviting youth who are enrolled to participate in the RILS programs and a parent/guardian, and control youth who are participating in a non-residential Life Skills program, to complete in-depth interviews with a research team member one month before the program begins, and one week, three months and one year after the end of the program. Youth and their parents are interviewed separately about their expectations for their time in their Life Skills program (before) and their experiences in the program (after). The interviews also explore the outcomes that youth experience from participating in the Life Skills program, including changes in hope for the future, self-determination and self-efficacy. By conducting interviews with youth and parents/guardians at the same time points as for the youth outcomes quantitative data collection we can gather rich and detailed information on the experiences and change processes that youth experience as a result of their participation in the Life Skills programs.