Existing policy research has not comprehensively examined the processes by which young people experience social exclusion: that is, the relationships among different risk factors for exclusion, their actual experiences of exclusion, and outcomes that matter for their life chances. Drawing on data from a survey of Australian 13-14 year olds (N=3,535), this paper adapts the Bristol Social Exclusion Matrix to examine pathways from young people's personal and family resources, their experience of participation (school engagement; bullying victimization; teacher support), and their life satisfaction - a predictive indicator of wellbeing and mental health in adulthood. The effects of other characteristics or risk factors for young people's social exclusion (living with disability, being a young carer, identifying as Indigenous, and speaking a language other than English at home), are also examined. This paper shows that experience of exclusion mediates the relationship between young people's personal and family resources and life satisfaction. Controlling for characteristics or risk factors does not change this relationship, suggesting that processes of social exclusion, enacted in interpersonal encounters, are driven by overarching structural factors. These findings are relevant for policy in Australia, and in other countries with similar policy regimes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful for funding provided by the Australian Research Council (Grant numbers LP120100543 and DP190100247).
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press.
- young people
- social exclusion