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Setting Goals, Solving Problems, and Seeking Social Support: Developing Adolescents' Abilities through a Life Skills Program.

by Keishla
It is during adolescence that precursors to problembehavior begin to be displayed (Danish, 1996; Hamburg, 1997). However, as patterns may not yet be firmly established, it is important to encourage adolescents to develop a positive futureorientation to decrease the risk of health-compromising behaviors (Perry & Jessor, 1985). Different interventions have been developed to help adolescents achieve a positive future. One type has focused onteaching life skills which have been defined as those necessary to succeed in different environments such as school, home, neighborhood, and community (Danish, 1996). According to Danish (1996),for adolescents to acquire these skills, they must be concrete, easily taught, easily learned, and transferable. Research has shown that programs that are interactive have stronger effects thanthose that are information based (Tobler & Stratton, 1997).
One such life skills intervention is the Going for the Goal (GOAL) program (Danieh, 1996). GOAL is designed to give adolescents a senseof personal control and help them develop a positive outlook on their future. The intervention is generally taught in schools and involves high school students teaching the life skills to youngeradolescents in a ratio of approximately two high school students to 10 to 12 younger students (Danish, 1996). The GOAL program contains 10 one-hour sessions and usually is taught once a week for 10weeks.
The GOAL program has been implemented in numerous places. Whereas, many of the evaluations have addressed issues such as school attendance, behavior change, and self-esteem (Danish,1996; Danish & Nellen, 1997; Hodge, Dugdale & Sherburn, 1997), more research is needed to determine whether the adolescents are learning the skills taught in the program such as goal setting,...
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