Considering identity and meaning constructions for vulnerable young people

Journal article


Noble-Carr, Debbie and Woodman, Elise 2016. Considering identity and meaning constructions for vulnerable young people. Journal of Adolescent Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558416684952
AuthorsNoble-Carr, Debbie and Woodman, Elise
Abstract

Identity and meaning are fundamental to human experience and are particularly pertinent during adolescence and times of adversity. While identity development and meaning making can be different for vulnerable young people, who experience multiple adverse life events, there is currently little evidence of how these young people construct identity and make meaning from their experiences. This article reports on a phenomenological study, which allowed young people to start from their own understandings of identity and meaning and explore the ways they constructed their sense of self and place in the world. Interviews were conducted with 24 young people from Canberra, Australia. The study found identity constructions were profoundly influenced by an entrenched sense of autonomy, a longing to be the opposite of what they had experienced, and the expectation of living up to their own constructions of an ideal self. The findings strengthen our understanding of identity construction for this group, highlight the value of adopting narrative approaches to identity exploration, and demonstrate the value of incorporating knowledge from the field of loss and grief. Strategies to support vulnerable young people to develop positive, coherent, and achievable identity and meaning constructions are provided.

Keywordsadolescence; community-based participatory research; early adolescence; identity issues; early/emerging adulthood; qualitative methods
Year2016
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
PublisherSage journals
ISSN1552-6895
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558416684952
Page range1 - 27
Research GroupSchool of Allied Health
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/86xx5/considering-identity-and-meaning-constructions-for-vulnerable-young-people

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