Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline Waggoner

Second Advisor

Dr. Gary Beckley

Third Advisor

Dr. Eric Anctil

LC Subjects

Spiritual retreats--Catholic Church; Catholic high school students; High school students--Religious life--Study and teaching; High school students--Social aspects


This study examined the long-term impacts of a Catholic high school Kairos based retreat. Long-term impact is defined as impacts on participants present three to five years after the retreat. This research contributed to the general body of knowledge around retreats and retreat elements that provide long-term social, emotional, and faith impacts. The importance of this study is the identification of specific long-term impacts, and the specific retreat elements that contribute to the long-term impacts. These impacts demonstrate the benefits for participants of a Kairos based retreat program, and how these benefits contribute to the fulfillment of the mission of the institution implementing a Kairos based retreat. The research first consisted of an online survey and then interviews of the survey participants. The participants were all within the case of three to five years after their retreat experience. For the online survey, case participants either agreed or disagreed with specific statements of impact. The online survey listed all of the retreat elements for a Kairos based retreat and had the participants state to what degree each element contributed to the long-term impact. The online survey included open ended questions where participants could name impacts or elements not included in the survey. These qualitative data were supplemented by interviews.

Overall, participants affirmed that long-term impact is present, and that the impact is positive. The impacts involved their relationship with others and themselves. Participants identified being more empathetic, resilient, and feeling loved and supported. Faith impacts were also identified, as becoming closer to God, and increasing their overall level of faith. These social, emotional, and faith impacts are the result of specific retreat elements such as: having the retreat for multiple days and nights away from school and technology, letters of affirmation from family, friends, and teachers, having small groups and reflection exercises, and having all of these retreat elements be a surprise for the participant.

The results of this study can be used to support the implementation of Kairos based retreat programs at Catholic institutions. The results demonstrate the long-term positive social, emotional and faith impacts on the retreat participants.


Copyright for this work is retained by the author.