A brighter future: The impact of the DofE on young people’s mental health and wellbeing

DofE and NFER

24 November 2020

Research report on the DofE website

New research by The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has highlighted the positive effects of the DofE on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The main objective of this research, which was conducted before Covid-19, was to explore ways of investigating the impact of participating in the DofE on participants’ emotional health and wellbeing. This was undertaken by designing a cross-sectional survey of participants’ self-perceived wellbeing in the areas of confidence and self-esteem, resilience and overcoming adversity, and working with others.

By developing a reliable survey, the aim was to address the following three main research questions:

  • How do participants perceive their own wellbeing?
  • How do participants think that participation in different stages of their programme has influenced their wellbeing?
  • How does taking part in different activities affect participants’ wellbeing?

The main findings of the research show that as a result of doing their DofE, which is undertaken by 14 to 24-year-olds, participants feel more confident in overcoming difficult situations (62%), more independent (61%) and that life is more worthwhile (45%).

The research is a snapshot of self-reported wellbeing and development of soft skills from 4,638 participants and provides evidence of the self-reported positive effects the DofE had on young people’s mental wellbeing.

When it comes to general wellbeing, the survey also reveals that young people believe the DofE has helped them to make new friends (50%), given them the opportunity to face new challenges (75%), and in respect of improving education and employment prospects, 78% agreed or strongly agreed that it enhanced their CV or UCAS application.

The research highlights how young people can enjoy and feel proud of what they achieve whilst learning these valuable skills, with 72% of respondents agreeing that doing the DofE is fun and enjoyable, and 70% saying that it made them proud of what they can achieve.

Sponsor Details

Duke of Edinburgh's Award