Dissertation

Let Them Sing: Responsive Resiliency and Performing Arts Participation in a Southern California Junior High

This mixed methods study asked junior high students enrolled in performing arts electives, as well as those not enrolled in performing arts, to selfreport gains in overall resiliency levels through both quantitative and qualitative measures. Questions on both Likert surveys and interviews were aimed at addressing targeted resiliency related skills and/or characteristics including: independence, insight, initiative, and relationship building. In total, 137 students completed surveys at the beginning and end of a semester at the Southern California junior high school. In addition, nine students participated in interviews during the last 2 weeks of the semester. Though variances in pre- and postintervention surveys were insignificant, interview transcripts revealed common themes amongst students. These findings support the notion that participation in performing arts may be a protective factor and may provide some defense against those influences that negatively impact student success. Bolstering student resiliency at the junior high level may make students better able to cope with adversity throughout high school and beyond.

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