Inferring Australian children's sense of community: A critical exploration.

Document Type

Journal Article


Carfax Publishing


Computing, Health and Science






This article was originally published as: Pooley, J. , Pike, L. , Drew, N. M., & Breen, L. J. (2002). Inferring Australian children's sense of community: A critical exploration. Community, Work & Family, 5(1), 5-21.


Sense of community (SOC) has been found to be a predictor of adult well-being and psychological health. Recent research has begun to explore adolescents’ SOC. However, there is a dearth of research on the meaning children attach to their community and the development of their SOC, despite its potential for providing an understanding of important aspects of children’s lives. Conversational interviews were conducted in schools with 46 children aged from 9 to 12 years. The results were analysed using an unfolding strategy. The Ž ndings indicate that for children, understandings of community focus on the relationships shared with the signiŽ cant others central to their experience of childhood—family, friends, and neighbours, consistent with Bronfenbrenner’s ecological framework. Children also described community in terms of environment, both built and natural. Further exploration of the children’s understanding of community yielded insights into the role of activities, interactions, good and bad aspects of community and problem solving in their understanding of community. The implications of the research are discussed in terms of programme planning at the individual and systemic levels.

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