Growing up in rural community: children's experiences of social capital from perspectives of wellbeing
2010 (English)In: Rural and remote health, ISSN 1445-6354, Vol. 10, no 3, 1322Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Introduction: People are influenced by the neighborhood in which they live. The neighborhood may be particularly important for children’s wellbeing because of the constraints it imposes on their patterns of daily activities. Furthermore, the neighborhood is a central context for social development, being a place where children form networks and learn social skills and values. The aim of this study was to describe how social capital in the neighborhood is perceived by children living in rural areas, and to reveal what this adds to their sense of wellbeing.
Methods: The study had a descriptive research design with a qualitative approach. Seven single-sex focus group interviews were conducted with children the in 6th grade (aged 11–12 years). Data were analyzed using deductive content analysis.
Results: The children perceived a lack of social capital due to environmental and social constraints in their everyday lives. However, their wellbeing was enhanced by strong cohesion in the neighborhood. In addition, settings such as the school, the natural environment, and sporting associations were highly valued and emerged as crucial factors for enhancing the children’s wellbeing. The spatial isolation that characterizes rural areas created a special context of social network structures, cohesion and trust, but was also a breeding ground for exclusion and social control. The stories revealed paradoxical feelings of living in a good and safe area that simultaneously felt isolated and restricted.
Conclusions: From a rural perspective, this study reveals the complexity of the children’s perceptions of their social environment, and the ways in which these perceptions have both positive and negative effects on wellbeing. The results highlight how important it is for health professionals in rural areas to consider the complex influence of bonding social capital on children’s wellbeing, and to be aware that it can promote exclusion as well as cohesion.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 10, no 3, 1322
Child wellbeing, Health determinant, Health promotion, Social capital, Social environment, Sweden.
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-5538ISI: 000286342600005PubMedID: 20701413ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79952012810OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-5538DiVA: diva2:1070014