Youth sense of community: Voice and power in community contexts

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83 Scopus citations


Sense of Community theory suggests that people feel more attracted to groups and settings in which they feel influential or powerful. Unfortunately, young people have no voice or influence in many of the contexts in which they find themselves. Furthermore, teenagers are often unequipped and undersupported to participate fully and feel like they are making meaningful contributions to society. This is especially the case for young people who are disadvantaged or members of a minority groups. A two-part study was undertaken to explore sense of community in adolescents. The first phase utilized existing tools to measure adolescent sense of community in school, neighborhood, and city contexts. The second phase of the study relied on in-depth interviews with teenagers to better understand how they construct their sense of community. This article reports findings from the second phase and looks closely at the sense of community domain of "influence" as it applies to adolescents. Interviews with young people suggest that they feel a stronger self-described sense of community in contexts where they experience voice and resonance, some power and influence, and adequate adult support and challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-709
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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