Passionate about social change: An IPA study exploring the experiences of young people engaged in community action

Hoyne, Nicola (2021) Passionate about social change: An IPA study exploring the experiences of young people engaged in community action. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Recent years have seen a rise in the prevalence of mental health problems, with children and young people from socially and economically disadvantaged areas particularly affected. To address these difficulties, there is a shift in favour towards community psychology interventions which work at multiple levels to improve well-being and to challenge the status quo, addressing the systemic and social conditions which contribute to psychological problems occurring. Following a systematic literature review which identified considerable gaps in the literature, particularly in the UK context, this study aimed to add to the research base on community psychology interventions through an exploration of youths’ experiences. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six young people (aged 16-25) who had taken up roles with a youth-led Young Advisors (YA) organisation operating according to a community psychology model. The organisation was located in an ethnically-diverse London borough with high rates of child poverty and gang-related youth violence. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. A community psychology lens was used when exploring the analysed interview data, with themes emerging for each participant. These led to the identification of six superordinate themes occurring across the participant group: conceptualisation of the YA role, YA and the construct of self, personal growth through YA involvement, factors attributed to the effectiveness of the role, challenges in role, and factors contributing to continued involvement. The findings were discussed in the context of the existent literature. Implications for practice for Educational Psychologists were considered, including ideas for future research. It is argued that community psychology interventions offer an attractive and effective model for engaging youths, including those from marginalised and disadvantaged communities, offering alternative solutions to the individually focused, professionally driven interventions for mental health and wellbeing that currently dominate in the UK.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Professional Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Research, Tests, Assessments > Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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