Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Christopher Sonn

Abstract

A psychological sense of community (PSOC) has been found to facilitate adjustment and well-being. However, little research has been conducted in Australian universities. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomena, a qualitative approach was adopted. This research explored PSOC from the participants' perspective using McMillan and Chavis's (1986) theoretical framework as a guide and investigated the following research questions. (1) What is the residential students' perception of PSOC, at Edith Cowan University (ECU)? (2) What factors, within the student village, facilitate and inhibit PSOC? (3) What factors within the university setting and beyond, in the wider community, facilitate and inhibit PSOC? Fifteen ECU students, living in the student village, on the Joondalup campus, participated in this study. Postgraduate and undergraduate students, from a variety of academic disciplines, took part. There were six females and nine males. The participants ranged in age from 18- 43 years. The nationality of participants varied, including Australian, British, Kenyan, New Zealander, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Zimbabwean. The findings support the interactionist perspective, and emphasise the importance of a positive PSOC to the adjustment process. The research also highlights the role that the university plays in facilitating a positive PSOC. The university can facilitate a positive PSOC, through providing orientation, educational continuity and recognition, security, acceptance, educational flexibility and resources, clubs, outings, social events, and personal support.

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