Attachment and School Connectedness: A Physical Based Intervention for At-Risk Students
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The adolescent stage is perhaps the most awkward stage in our lives. However, this stage is also one of great importance that ultimately shapes who we become. Given the complexities of social development that are entwined in our journey through adolescence it is amazing that many youth transition to adulthood rather unscathed. As difficult as this stage may be for those youth who have proper support networks in place (both at home and at school) those who lack required supports such as involved parents and family members, adolescence can be a traumatizing period. Given this understanding the research ponders the questions, can a short-term weight lifting (physical intervention) program, for at-risk learners, positively affect their school experience? Existing research into attachment theory offers an understanding of at risk youth and the challenges they face in making meaningful connections to their teachers, peers and school. Many at-risk learners exhibit signs of chronic detachment from positive adults (teachers), engage in negative behavior, exhibit social isolation from the mainstream population and in some cases suffer from mental health issues. Sadly many of these youth fail to graduate school. Given the nature of their home life many at-risk students suffer from attachment disorder. Proper attachment to the primary caregiver, at infancy, results in a well-adjusted individual who is confident and successful in life whereas the opposite holds true for those who do not have proper attachment bonds starting at infancy. Using attachment theory and research on the need for developing school connectedness the research developed a six-week, off-site weight lifting intervention plan for four at-risk youth. The aims of this study were to determine if such a program could enhance attachment from the participants to teachers as well as improve school connectedness. The research presented throughout this paper explored and found that this intervention appeared to have positive effects within the limitations of the sample and time frame involved. Upon analyzing the results, the researcher made recommendations for future studies as well as determining the practicality of such a program on a day-to-day basis in the current education system.