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A mixed methods exploration of surf therapy piloted for youth well-being in post-conflict Sierra Leone

Marshall, Jamie; Kamuskay, Sallu; Margaedah Samai, Michaella; Marah, Isha; Tonkara, Fanta; Conteh, Josephine; Jalloh, Oullematu; Messeh-Leone, Olufemi; Missalie, Mohamed; Bangura, Mohamed; Keita, Sullayman; Leone, Messeh; Ferrier, Brendon; Martindale, Russell


Sallu Kamuskay

Michaella Margaedah Samai

Isha Marah

Fanta Tonkara

Josephine Conteh

Oullematu Jalloh

Olufemi Messeh-Leone

Mohamed Missalie

Mohamed Bangura

Sullayman Keita

Messeh Leone


Young people in post-conflict and post-epidemic contexts such as Sierra Leone face a range of mental health challenges as part of their daily life. An innovative approach to Sport for Development that could offer support to youth mental health is surf therapy. This research used a uncontrolled mixed methods approach to explore the evaluations of surf therapy pilot sites run by five youth-focused and community development organizations around Freetown. Four sites provided useable pre/post data using the Stirling Children’s Well-Being Scale [n = 58, Average Age = 12.9]. Three sites were associated with significant (p < .017) large effects (r = 0.65-0.84) on participant well-being. One site was associated with a non-significant (p < .380) small negative effect (r = -0.22 A synthesis of qualitative data within the five evaluations triangulated with quantitative findings and provided important context in terms of challenges to service delivery. This included low attendance as a plausible mediator for why one site saw very different results to other sites. Combined these processes highlight the need for future research exploring possible dose response relationships. It also provides a foundation for more rigorous research in the future. These promising findings support continued and optimized delivery of surf therapy in Sierra Leone to sup-port youth mental health.


Marshall, J., Kamuskay, S., Margaedah Samai, M., Marah, I., Tonkara, F., Conteh, J., …Martindale, R. (2021). A mixed methods exploration of surf therapy piloted for youth well-being in post-conflict Sierra Leone. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(12), Article 6267.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 4, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 10, 2021
Publication Date Jun 10, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 4, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 15, 2021
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 12
Article Number 6267
Keywords surf therapy; mental health; sport for development; mixed methods; evaluation
Public URL


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