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University of Canberra researchers Dr Paul Perkins and Professor Allan Hahn, who are the driving force behind the implementation of a sport-based development initiative called ModBox have just had another research paper published in the Open Journal of Social Sciences.

In this paper, Paul and Allan describe how participation in ModBox assisted with the positive growth and development of some of its younger participants.

Thematic analysis performed on two years of “insider data” revealed that the most common perceived benefits that young people derived from the program were increased levels of determination, increased levels of self-confidence and enhanced leadership skills. Specific program features most clearly associated with these outcomes were fostering of positive and supportive relationships, collaborative involvement of the young people in determining program directions and provision of opportunities for positive observational learning.

While these findings are consistent with published literature and contemporary theories on positive youth development, the interesting thing about Paul and Allan’s findings is that positive youth development was not the explicit objective of the modified boxing program. Rather, the establishment of functional youth-adult partnerships and co-design procedures in the program environment appears to have caused the program to take on characteristics that research has identified as critical to attainment of positive youth development outcomes.

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