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Community influences on rural youth wellbeing: Young people's perspectives

This study considered rural young people’s perceptions of community factors involved in their wellbeing. Two regional Waikato towns, Te Aroha and Otorohanga were used as the sites for the research project. Four focus groups were conducted with students in their final year of senior school to obtain qualitative data. The focus group participants were recruited via flyers placed in the two schools and there were two groups (one male and one female) from each college. Five further in-depth interviews and two less formal discussions with community members from these towns were used as additional information. The data was considered from a social constructivist perspective. Both towns provide opportunities for the members of the communities to come together which may engender a sense of community. Te Aroha and Otorohanga’s students find that community-level events and, in particular, sport provides a good chance to meet with other sectors of the community. These social processes provide opportunities where there may be some implicit endorsement of the adolescents which may enhance self-esteem and, in turn, sense of wellbeing. The key findings are that sense of community cannot be the factor that directly determines wellbeing. The study provided evidence to suggest that sense of community can encourage social capital which is likely to have a positive correlation with wellbeing. Social capital is the “commodity” which can be accumulated by these community driven opportunities for interaction.
Type of thesis
Simcock, G. C. (2016). Community influences on rural youth wellbeing: Young people’s perspectives (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10609
University of Waikato
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