Adolescence and context, the relevance of the neighbourhood and family for adolescent health and well-being

French, Jane Patricia (2017) Adolescence and context, the relevance of the neighbourhood and family for adolescent health and well-being. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

Despite previous studies investigating the possible influences of the neighbourhood, parents and peers for adolescent health and well-being, there is a lack of consensus about the relative importance of these different contexts. This study used an ecological framework to examine the relationships between structural and social neighbourhood characteristics, family support, peer relationships, youth volunteering and adolescent psychological adjustment, perceived health, weight and health related behaviours, and overall life satisfaction. The main cross-sectional study of 209 adolescents and 65 of their parents took place in two UK locations, a large multicultural town and a rural village. As a strategy to strengthen the methods of perceiving and assessing neighbourhood constructs, the research included a qualitative study of 11 adolescents. Thematic analysis was used to explore teenagers’ perspectives of the neighbourhood and its relevance for health and happiness. The qualitative study found that opportunities for social connections within the neighbourhood, community cohesion and family support were said to be relevant for adolescents’ well-being, confirmed in the main quantitative study. Neighbourhood social cohesion was a significant predictor of health and life satisfaction. Neighbourhood deprivation, social cohesion and the proximal support of friends and family were all significant predictors of psychological adjustment. In contrast the lack of a relationship between neighbourhood deprivation, based on administrative data, with life satisfaction and health suggests an inconsistent role of neighbourhood deprivation for children’s health and well-being. Investigation of the potential role of adolescent neighbourhood volunteering found that teenagers who engaged in more helping behaviour were also likely to report better health, engaged in fewer ‘health risk’ behaviours and had fewer behavioural problems. Future research including longitudinal and using more refined measures of the neighbourhood that incorporate the views of adolescents, including objective measures such as observations may clarify the processes by which neighbourhood characteristics are relevant for adolescent well-being.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 15:25
Last Modified: 19 May 2017 15:25
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/238

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