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Small but Mighty After School Program Makes Impressive Health Journey

14 Apr

In 2002, Daphna Oyserman and two colleagues at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan wrote up a wonderful report on the nine-week after school, small group, activities-based intervention they developed for at-risk, African American, middle school students. The focus of the group work was on helping the kids imagine themselves as successful adults, and connecting their future imaginings to their current school involvement. 

Oyserman’s identity-based motivation research determined that youths fare better in school when they envision their future selves, connect them to the present and imagine strategies to get them there.

Her findings are discussed in detail in her 2015 book, Pathways to Success through Identity-based Motivation, published by Oxford Press. The book discusses her theories on motivation and provides a training manual.

Oyserman’s School-to-Jobs Program, developed at USC, was implemented in the Singapore Educational System in 2015.

It is a 12-week program, featuring twice-weekly sessions. In each session, students create projects involving different activities that allow them to evaluate their efforts as part of a group norm.

Hats off to Oyserman and her research team! An impressive journey for what started as a study based on a nine-week after school program.

You can read more about the original study in the journal article. Here is the citation: Oyserman D, Terry K, Bybee D. A possible selves intervention to enhance school involvement. Journal of Adolescence. 2002 Jun; 25 (3): pages 313-26.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award