‘I’m not a barcode or case file number’: understandings of perceived social support and belonging within disadvantaged adolescents and young adults

Ian Goodwin-Smith, Kathleen Hill, Clemence Due, Michelle Waterford, Tatiana Corrales, Leanne Wood, Todd Yourell, Coco Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Perceived social support and a sense of belonging are thought to be protective factors against negative outcomes in adulthood that are commonly associated with childhood adversity. However, while this relationship is well established, very little is understood about how adolescents and young adults define these constructs themselves. This research aimed to examine adolescents’ and young adults’ understandings of perceived social support and sense of belonging, as well as their own understandings of their childhood experiences and current outcomes. Participants in the study were 275 adolescents and emerging adults aged between 17 and 24 (mean = 18.82, SD = 1.50), and included 177 females, 99 males, and 2 transgender participants, with 2 participants not disclosing their gender. Convenience sampling from a national group of young people accessing welfare service organisations within Australia was used. Qualitative data were obtained from 13 open-ended questions to an online survey. The study found that this group of adolescents and emerging adults with a history of childhood adversity understood social support and belonging as having someone who listened, as coming from people who surrounded them, and as impacted by their childhood experiences. We argue that support for this group of youth needs to revolve around building positive relationships in order to maximise resilience and well-being outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2017

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