24 November 2015

Schoolies can be a time for secrecy and fake bravado, but dozens of 2015 school leavers are documenting every raw emotion during their stay on the Gold Coast this week.

The teens are taking part in a University of Queensland School of Psychology study, Understanding the Schoolies experience, headed by PhD candidate Laura Ferris.

“We’re measuring factors such as wellbeing and self-esteem, as well as social identity, trust and demographic data,” Ms Ferris said.

“School leavers completed surveys on the first day and will  receive an SMS or email at three designated times to complete further questions.

“We hope to look at wellbeing trajectories and what factors help protect schoolies in grappling with some of the challenges and risks that accompany the event.

“Obviously the community wants them staying safe, while still enjoying their time.”

A team of six researchers and students from the UQ Centre for Research in Social Psychology  recruited hundreds of participants at Surfers Paradise on Saturday.

Participants will help give a true perspective of Schoolies, making future events safer and more enjoyable, and will also be eligible for vouchers and prizes.

“It’s an exciting time and an important rite of passage for so many graduating students,” Ms Ferris said.

“We are looking forward to learning more about different perspectives on the Schoolies experience.

“We’ll capture the essence of what’s happening, right across the time they are on the Gold Coast and on return home as well.”

Study findings will be made available in 2016.

Media: Ms Laura Ferris, l.ferris@uq.edu.au, +61 403 922 987; Robert Burgin, UQ Communications, r.burgin@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 3035, +61 448 410 364.