Sustaining the use of Positive Education coping skills to meet the challenges of the emerging adulthood period

Nina Stevanovic, Erin Hoare, Vicki Mckenzie, Meredith O'Connor


The Positive Education approach is a whole-school program implemented in primary and secondary school settings that aims to equip students with effective coping skills. During the transition to adulthood (often termed “emerging adulthood”), young people encounter a variety of challenges and are expected to draw on their own resources to cope. The current qualitative study aimed to provide initial insights into whether young people exposed to Positive Education training at school continue to use these coping strategies during emerging adulthood, when they have left the school setting. Twenty-one graduates (9 male, 12 female, 18 – 19 years old) of a Victorian independent school who had received four years of explicit Positive Education training completed semi-structured interviews via telephone. The interviews focused on the challenges the participants encountered after leaving school, skills they used to cope with those challenges, and factors that affected their use of Positive Education skills. Qualitative analysis showed that all participants were using skills that are taught within Positive Education to some extent, once they had left the secondary school setting. Young people identified a range of barriers and enablers to their continued use of these skills beyond the school setting. The findings suggest that Positive Education training may be helpful in preparing young people for the challenges of the emerging adulthood period. However, further program development is needed to promote the sustained use of these skills. 


Emerging adulthood; Positive Education

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