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Friendship and social support of young people looked-after by their local community

By Nicola Anderton

Abstract

Part One: Literature Review \ud Background: Children and young people who are looked-after by social services are at increased risk of mental health problems. This and their experiences of care may contribute to difficulties accessing friends and social support. The aim was to review the state of the literature on the friendships and social relationships of children and young people looked-after by social services. \ud Method: Five databases were systematically searched. \ud Results: Thirty seven articles were retained as relevant to the question. \ud Conclusions: The articles reviewed demonstrated some evidence of peer relationship difficulties for the looked-after population and identified contributing factors. However, the articles demonstrated areas of poor quality such as small sample sizes and highlighted areas for future research. \ud Part Two: Research Report \ud Introduction: Children and young people who are looked-after by their local authority are more likely to experience difficulties in forming and maintaining friendships but how they make sense of their experiences is not understood. \ud Aim: To understand the meanings young people who are looked-after construct from their experiences of friends, friendship and peer relationships. \ud Method: Seven young people looked-after by their local authority took part in semi-structured interviews. The co-construction of narrative in the interviews were analysed using Critical Narrative Analysis (Emerson & Frosh, 2004). \ud Results: The young people were all able to construct meaning from their experiences of friends, friendship and peer relationships and all had some experience of close and supportive friends that they valued. Some barriers to friendship were understood by the young people to be caused by having to move a lot and by individual characteristics within themselves. Conclusion: Friendships were positive contributions to the lives of LAC and provided them with a source of emotional support. \ud Part Three: Critical Appraisal \ud Reflections regarding the overall research process are provided

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7722

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