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Zeroing in on heroes: adolescents’ perceptions of hero features and functions

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Show simple item record Kinsella, Elaine Louise English, Alison McMahon, Jennifer 2020-10-09T08:16:47Z 2020-10-09T08:16:47Z 2020
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Recent research has revealed that having a personal hero can offer psychological resources to adults, particularly during challenging times. Yet we know little about the role that heroes play in the lives of adolescents – a period of human development when challenges are plentiful, and adolescents are increasingly open to the influence of others outside the family unit. In the present study, adolescent perspectives were sought on types and characteristics of heroes, and the psychological and social functions provided by heroes for young people. Four focus groups were conducted with adolescents (N = 22) aged 15 to 17 years at two urban, co-educational public secondary (high) schools in Ireland. Four themes of hero functions were identified: 1) Heroes uplift others (inspire, offer hope, remind about the good in the world) but they can also disappoint; 2) Heroes model good (or moral) behaviour but they can also model bad behaviour; 3) Heroes protect others and help others to cope (provide emotional and social support, boost self-efficacy, provide social control) but young people may over-rely on their heroes on occasion; 4) Heroes provide an important role in support of identity exploration and formation – often representing the ‘ideal self’ but at times may offer an unrealistic standard of comparison. These findings provide a nuanced view of the role of heroes in the lives of adolescents, and a novel perspective of both the positive and negative consequences of having heroes during adolescence. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Heroic Imagination Project en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Heroism Science;5 (2),pp. 1-45
dc.subject heroes en_US
dc.subject social influence en_US
dc.subject mental health en_US
dc.title Zeroing in on heroes: adolescents’ perceptions of hero features and functions en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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