Investigating the developmental changes of the self-concept over time
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Two studies were conducted to investigate the developmental impacts on self-concept in adolescence and adulthood. The first study utilizes a mixed method approach to analyze the effect of the Positive Youth Self-Concept Program intervention on components of self-concept (e.g., self-esteem, self-control, etc.). A total of 21 adolescents ages 11-15 participated in the program at an urban middle school in southwest United States. The program included two major components, yoga and mindful meditation practice, given in six 40-minute sessions during the school day (i.e., during their Physical Education class). Results found statistically significant changes in mean scores for depressive symptoms, anxiety, and social capital. The qualitative data revealed the major skill learned among participants of the program was communicating feelings and seeking out positive support for handling negative emotions, especially anger. Self-esteem, stress, self-control, and coping skills mean scores were not significantly different from mean scores before the program, although the changes were still trending in positive directions. Overall, the program was effective in decreasing depressive symptoms and anxiety and increasing social capital among the participants. Results point to increased clarity, exploration, and development of self-concept in participants from the skills gained from the PYSC pilot program. The second study is a qualitative study using a grounded theory approach that investigates former police officers' experiences after termination from a use of force case. In unique cases where use of force is part of standard protocol, police departments may opt to terminate officers regardless of whether or not the protocol was deemed just. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted over the course of a six-month period. This study with two former officers was designed to tap into mental health effects, impacts on the officers' personal lives and general changes in self-concept. Potential themes were analyzed according to the research question: What occurs when police self-concept and a use of force case intersect? Findings indicated the police officer self-concept was developed throughout life and can be disrupted by drastic changes in one's reality (i.e., loss of career). The dramatic shift in salient roles in life were found to affect the mental health, relationships, and self-concept of these two former police officers.