Making the best of it: Adolescents' perceptions of how their home and neighborhood spheres shape their lives
Keywords:adolescent, living conditions, housing, neighborhood, social relationship, subjective experience
Adolescents’ homes are fundamental components of their living conditions and essential for their everyday life, health, well-being and development. Previous research has focused on how housing affects adolescents through investigating certain aspects of adolescent health and future outcomes. In this qualitative study, we explored low-income family adolescents’ subjective experiences of their homes and in what ways their experiences of housing influenced their everyday lives. Seven participants aged between 12 and 20 years were recruited through a housing project. The participants were interviewed using individual in-depth interviews. The data were analysed using a thematic analysis and organised into four themes: 1) housing features affecting social life and privacy, 2) moving around, 3) the importance of neighbourhood and 4) worries and dreams. The findings show how the housing standards affected adolescents’ social life and privacy. House moves could provide new opportunities but also lead to a lack of continuity in relationships. The neighbourhood was highlighted as a public sphere, providing access to places and friends. Adolescents’ worries and dreams concerning housing conditions are also presented. The results show how housing is central in shaping adolescents’ social relationships, the importance of access to neighbourhood spheres and how adolescents adapt to their situation. The findings further reveal the important underlying processes to facilitate a greater understanding of the role of housing in low-income family adolescents’ lives.
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