Date of Award

5-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Anderson, Denise

Committee Member

McGuire , Francis

Committee Member

Schmalz , Dorothy

Abstract

Effective problem solving is an essential skill for people to possess. Effective problem-solvers have fewer troubles when dealing with their problems and adjust to society better. Effective problem-solvers take the needed steps to solving their problems (Bloom and Broder, 1950; Heppner et al., 1982). Few studies have been conducted looking at the long-term effect of programs that have problem-solving as an anticipated outcome. The few that have (Gass & Priest, 2006; Hatch & McCarthy, 2005) have not been conclusive in their results. The current study looks at the impact of group initiative involvement on problem solving using the Problem Solving Inventory (PSI) (Heppner, 1982). Data were collected from PRTM 101 students who participated in a three-hour group initiative session either early in the semester (experimental group, N=63) or later in the semester (control group, N=25). Data were collected using pre/post surveys during the respective PRTM 101 classes and immediately following the treatment on-site. Participants were measured at five- and nine-week follow-ups to determine if any elevated levels of perceived problem-solving ability after the group initiative course remained elevated. Analysis revealed that self-appraised total problem solving ability (TPS), personal control (PC), approach- avoidance style (AA), and problem solving confidence (PSC) were significantly higher than pretest scores immediately following the group initiative session; however total PSC and PC were the only two significantly higher than control group scores at the same time. At the five-week follow-up all but AA style returned to pretest levels. At nine weeks, TPS ability, PC, and AA style were significantly higher from pretest scores. However, the control group's PC also increased significantly at nine weeks from pretest scores. Therefore, while group initiatives appear to have some impact on self-appraised problem solving ability, the findings indicate need for further study.

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