Can it be done? A process evaluation of the acceptability, feasibility and affordability of a school-based resilience intervention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth

Abstract:
Aim. Internationally, schools have implemented resilience interventions to enhance the capacity of students to utilise and navigate toward resources that meet their needs and to negotiate the use of those resources in terms that make sense to them. Our five-year research project aimed to enhance the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from remote north Queensland communities who attend boarding schools for secondary education because there is no, or limited, secondary schooling available in their home communities. This paper reports a process evaluation of the acceptability, feasibility and affordability of implementing an environmental intervention in the boarding schools designed to strengthen the resilience of these students.Demographics.Fourteen boarding or teaching staff members, eight who were female and six who identified as Aboriginal, were interviewed. Settings. The intervention involved eight Queensland boarding sites. Methodology. Qualitative (semi-structured interviews with staff members) and quantitative (descriptive analysis of resource use) methods were used to evaluate the process of the resilience intervention. Ethics approval was attained from university and Department of Education Human Research Ethics Committees. Analysis. Inductive thematic analysis of interviews was conducted with the assistance of NVivo software. A descriptive analysis of the costs (AU$ 2018) was performed in Microsoft Excel 2013 from the perspective of the Department of Education. Results were expressed as mean (range) cost per student.Findings.The process evaluation identified five major themes: enablers and challenges to the implementation of resilience strategies, sharing experience across sites, staff knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, and perceived student achievement, leadership and relationships. Implementation of the resilience intervention was feasible, affordable and embraced by boarding schools.Implications. School-based interventions to support the resilience of youth are achievable with the appropriate resourcing and time to implement change.

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