Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Colleen Loomis

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Canadian girls face a number of complex issues as they transition through girlhood and into adolescence. Despite the barriers they face, girls can be resilient with the development of internal and external assets. Presently, we know that protective factors developed in girls-only programs between the critical ages of 9 and 13 enhance girls’ resilience in the short-term (Alcade, Hayward, Loomis, & Hodgson, 2012). This thesis project operationalizes protective factors as confidence, critical thinking skills, connectedness, and parental relationships. Risk factors are operationalized as adversity within environments, depression, negative behaviours, and substance use. A mixed methods approach is used to investigate two research questions: 1) Are resilience outcomes sustained from ages 9 to 13 through to ages 16 to 20?; and 2) What is the relationship between risk behaviours and protective factors? Eighteen program alumni of girls-only programs were recruited to participate in a survey; three were further recruited for semi-structured interviews; and one case study was analyzed. As hypothesized, results for question 1 reveal that these young women sustained their resilience through adolescent years and report higher rates of confidence, critical thinking skills, and connectedness. Question 2 results reveal complex relationships between risk factor and protective factors.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season