A determination of the effects of a ropes course on the self -esteem of undergraduate and graduate students

Yung-Kun Sung, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the ropes course on the self-esteem of undergraduate and graduate students. The ropes course provides challenging experiential activities that facilitate personal confidence and group teamwork. The study relates to adult education, experiential education, and program evaluation within the context of hospitality and tourism management education. Quantitative data were based on the assessment of self-esteem through the completion of the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI-C) modified for this study. Qualitative data were based on assessment of participants' reflective papers stating their perceptions of the ropes course. The study compared a treatment group (31 undergraduate and 25 graduate students) which participated in the ropes course, and a control group (31 undergraduate and 25 graduate students) which did not participate. Both groups completed the pre- and post-treatment SEI-C at the same time intervals. The quantitative data were analyzed using a two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). The qualitative data, comprised of reflective papers voluntarily written by 44 (79%) of the treatment group, were coded using four major themes reflecting the students' perceptions about the ropes course. Scores on the pretest and posttest of the SEI-C were not significantly different for the two groups. The qualitative data showed a favorable impact of the ropes course. The discrepancy in the outcomes based on these two measures suggests that the SEI-C self-report paper-and-pencil instrument may not be sufficiently refined to evaluate the complex issue of self-esteem. The SEI-C, if used, should be supplemented by other evaluation measures, since the two measures may be evaluating different components of self-esteem. They may be also differentially affected by bias in scoring, or by statistical characteristics of reliability and validity.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Physical education|Recreation

Recommended Citation

Sung, Yung-Kun, "A determination of the effects of a ropes course on the self -esteem of undergraduate and graduate students" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3151976.