Conceptualizing Well-being in Youth: The Potential of Youth Clubs
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonEriksen, Seland. Conceptualizing Well-being in Youth: The Potential of Youth Clubs. Young - Nordic Journal of Youth Research. 2020 https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1103308820937571
This study identifies key mechanisms in youth clubs for fostering well-being among vulnerable youths. We develop a framework to conceptualise prerequisites of well-being in youth, namely having a safe place to be, positive relations with others and possibilities for growth. This conceptualisation maintains insights from psychological elements of well-being while bringing psychosocial theory of identity in youth into a sociological orientation. Understanding youth as a dynamic and situated phase expands the investigation of both well-being and youth clubs from merely revolving around ‘risk’ and ‘protection’. Based on interviews with youth workers and participants in youth clubs in Norway, the paper describes how ‘hanging out’ in adult-supervised but otherwise unstructured spaces provides youths with safety, belonging and a gradual sense of mastery. As such, the club may function as an institutionalised safe space and gives time, a ‘moratorium’, offering vulnerable youths shelter from adult responsibilities and the acceleration of societal demands.