Positive Development, Sense of Belonging, and Support of Peers among Early Adolescents: Perspectives of Different Actors

  •  Marie Drolet    
  •  Isabelle Arcand    


Trusting relationships at school and within other social networks emerge as protective factors that are crucial to the positive development of early adolescents. School is one of the critical environments where they can develop a sense of belonging.  This study involved 20 qualitative interviews with school staff and youth workers recruited from social services and high schools in Eastern Ontario and 12 qualitative interviews with adolescents 12-13 years of age attending some of these same schools. Deductive and inductive analysis of the transcripts clearly underscored the importance of the supportive roles played by peers, teachers and non-family adults in the lives of early teens. The proximity that results from listening to and accompanying early adolescents in day-to-day activities, and comprehending their issues, presents an opportunity for youth workers and school staff to better grasp how to become credible, trusted and legitimate in the eyes of young teens.

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