A Feasibility Study of the My Strengths Training for Life™ (MST4Life™) Program for Young People Experiencing Homelessness

Jennifer Cumming, Fiona J Clarke, Mark J G Holland, Benjamin J Parry, Mary L Quinton, Sam J Cooley

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Abstract

My Strengths Training for Life™ (MST4Life™) is a positive youth development program for improving wellbeing and social inclusion in young people experiencing homelessness. MST4Life™ addresses a gap in strengths-based programs aimed at promoting healthy and optimal development in vulnerable older adolescents/emerging adults. The program was co-developed with a UK housing service as part of a long-term (>8 years) community-academic partnership. This mixed-methods study describes a key step in developing and evaluating the program: exploring its feasibility and acceptability with 15 homeless young people (Mean age = 19.99 years, SD = 2.42; 60% male, 40% female). Participants experienced 8 weekly sessions within their local community, followed by a 4-day/3-night residential outdoor adventure trip. In addition to their attendance records, the viewpoints of the participants and their support workers were obtained using diary rooms and focus groups. Feasibility was indicated via the themes of attendance, engagement, and reaction. The findings suggested that young people enjoyed and perceived a need for the program, that they considered the program and its evaluation methods to be acceptable, and that both the community-based and outdoor adventure residential phases could be implemented as planned. Minor modifications are needed to recruitment strategies before it is more widely rolled out and evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3320
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Homeless Persons
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Problems
  • Young Adult

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