Experiences of Hope for Youth Workers Engaging At-Risk Youth

  • Author / Creator
    Murdoch, Kenneth C
  • Youth workers are helping professionals who build relationships with vulnerable youth, youth who face a myriad of complex struggles. While working with clients facing consistently stressful life circumstances, it can be difficult for these helping professionals to sustain hope in their work. The relationship between outreach-related relationships and positive youth outcomes are firmly established in the literature. Youth work is characteristically challenging because workers are faced with clients who may be resistant to change or engage in risky behaviors. Research shows that hope is an important factor for professionals when facing difficult circumstances and challenging clientele. In addition, helping professionals who are hopeful for their clients tend to foster better treatment outcomes. This research study employed Merriam’s Basic Interpretive Inquiry to explore the experience of hope for four youth workers from a community organization in a large Canadian city. Employing thematic analysis to examine data from semi-structured interviews with the participants, results of this study centered on five themes. Youth workers communicated that hope was experienced through the workers’: (1) sense of self, (2) work atmosphere, (3) perspectives, and (4) relationships. The youth workers also discussed a fifth experience that threatened their experiences of hope at work, namely socio-cultural barriers. The results of this study are discussed in the context of contemporary hope research. Specific implications for the fields of youth work and counselling psychology are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Counselling Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Larsen, Denise (Educational Psychology)
    • Hanson, William (Educational Psychology)
    • Van Vliet, Jessica (Educational Psychology)