How Outward Bound co-instructor relationships create a context for emotional support during stressful course situations

Gina Mcgovern, Gina McGovern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Youth program leaders may experience considerable stress when they encounter emotionally demanding situations in their work. This stress can negatively affect their well-being or interfere with their ability to provide meaningful experiences for youth. Using Outward Bound (OB) youth expedition courses as a context, this study examined how co-instructors provided emotional support to instructors during stressful situations. Qualitative analysis of 31 OB instructor interviews showed co-instructors used three strategies: allowing instructors to momentarily exit the situation, validating instructors' emotions, and reframing negative situations. In addition, certain relationship factors facilitated the provision of support: building holistic relationships, establishing open communication patterns, and conveying commitment. The findings suggest that these factors increased instructors' perception of support availability, which facilitated them receiving support. This study makes a strong case for the value of co-worker relationships as a source of support for individuals in occupations where they experience emotionally stressful work situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1904-1922
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Volume49
Issue numberNovember 2020
StatePublished - Mar 20 2021

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