Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Science


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Ann Ingamells


Yirra is a residential treatment program for young people who are experiencing problems associated with their substance use. The design of this program was influenced both by consultation with other youth services, and by current literature and theories regarding the most effective approaches to delivery of youth substance use services. Yirra has been in operation since February, 1992, and to date has not been formally evaluated. This research represents the first stage of evaluation of Yirra. The Phenomenological approach to enquiry was aimed at gaining some understanding of the experience of being at Yirra, from the perspective of the young people in the program. Over a three month period, all program participants who had been in the program for a week were invited to take part in taped interviews. Data gathering also included participant observation and program document analysis. As the Yirra program was designed specifically for adolescents, the phenomenological approach to data analysis also included analysis based on the theories of adolescent development of Piaget and Erikson.