Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Does Camping Really Lead to Changes in Self-Esteem?
Rawson, H.E. and McIntosh, D.
Camping Magazine, 63.6 (1991), 18-20

Determine the effects of a very structured and intensive camp program using specific behavior modification techniques on childrens' self-esteem.

111 boys, 16 girls ages 6-12, normal intelligence, low socioeconomic backgrounds, severe behavioral problems

Pre-test on first day, post-test on last full day, control group (similar ages & socioeconomic background, no camp program participation) measured on pre-test and post-test eight days apart.  Data Analysis: t-test for dependent sample


  • Four sequential 10- day sessions. Campers divided into units by ages. Sessions 1 & 2: 4 units of 7-9 boys ages 9-11, Sessions 3 & 4: 3 units of boys age 10 and 1 unit of girls ages 7.
  • Campers studied school subjects in the morning (group and individual tutoring), participated in cooperative group problem-solving activities and activities designed to promote learning to cope with competition in the afternoon.

Behavior Modification Techniques:

  • frequent verbal praise from staff
  • continual physical gestures of approval and affection from staff
  • frequent success experiences in "earning" special camp activities
  • frequent peer group recognition for success
  • public ceremonial awards for successes

Instrument: Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory for Children, Form B (SEI), measuring general, academic, social, and parental self-esteem.


  • Significant increase in general self-esteem and academic self-esteem for entire sample on post-test
  • No significant changes between pre-and post-test for control group
  • Significant general self-esteem increase for 9 year old boys
  • Significant academic self-esteem increase for 11 year old boys
  • Significant increase in general, academic, and parental self-esteem for 10 year old boys and girls
  • No significant increases in general, academic, or parental self-esteem for 7 year old boys and girls
  • Lack of changes in the control group suggests that the self-esteem changes in the camp group were a result of participation in the specialized program. There was support for the hypothesis that academic self-esteem is raised as a result of camp programs that include academic activities. There was little or no support for the hypothesis that social or parental self-esteem would be raised.