Document Type



Edith Cowan University


Supervisors: Dr Andrew Guilfoyle


As adolescent girls transition in their development they can experience numerous extensive short term and long term personal challenges that impact their mental health and personal wellbeing for themselves and society (Call et al., 2002; Tolman, Impett, Tracy & Michael, 2006). This research utilised interpretative phenomenology to explore insights and interpret the lived experiences of adolescent girls in psychological wellbeing (PWB), physical wellbeing (PhysWB) and spiritual wellbeing (SWB). It discovered coping strategies the girls employ, implied ways to promote resiliency, self esteem and self confidence and highlighted the benefits and ideals that adolescent girls are seeking from prevention or support programs. The research participants consisted of 13 adolescent girls, aged 15 to 16 years old; with the addition of the youth pastor and life group leader. Focus groups and semi-structured in-depth interviews were analysed using interpretive thematic analysis to assist in identification, analysis, and propagation of themes across the complete data set (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Four emerging themes were identified which include: coping techniques, physical wellbeing, support systems and church-based youth programs. In addition, a prominent unforeseen theme was social wellbeing. These themes participants deemed important for issues impacting PWB, PhysWB and SWB. The findings of this research broadens the psychological research literature for female adolescents’ health and wellness; including theoretical knowledge criterion for holistic (i.e. PWB, PhysWB, SWB and social wellbeing) prevention and support programs for adolescent girls. These findings imply that prevention (e.g., school-based programs) and support programs (e.g., church-based youth groups) for adolescent girls should primarily focus on the key social issues of fitting into society, friendship, family and intimate relationships (i.e., boyfriends) to address underlying influences on their self esteem, self confidence, independence and trust or faith in the community. Limitations of this study include the parental feedback not being included and the lived experiences being gender-specific (i.e., female adolescents only). Future research could include evaluating the dialogues of parents, friends and family. Additionally, future research could include an adolescent male sample to form a wider scope of knowledge.

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