The Role of Supportive Relations on Well-Beiing of Adolescents in a Segregated City

Sören Petermann


The contribution investigates how supportive relations to peers and adults foster well-being of adolescents. Previous research already identified that relations are influential but questions that more deeply delve into the topic are still unresolved. When it comes to peer relationships for example it is still questionable whether a single best friend or the belonging to a clique is more favourable for adolescents’ well-being. Among adult relationships it is taken for granted that parents are the most relevant group for adolescents but the roles of adults in schools or in neighbourhoods remain unresolved. Furthermore, the relative importance of relationships compared to other assets like school experiences, leisure activities, health status or physiological issues (nutrition, sleep) on well-being is still an open research question. A research question that will be addressed in the presentation is the well-being of adolescents living in a segregated city. The presentation will investigate whether small-scale socio-spatial contexts are influential on supportive relationships, on well-being or on the correlation among these factors by taking measures of deprivation for neighbourhoods into account. The relationships between social ties, other assets and well-being in different neighbourhoods are tested with German survey data (conducted in a larger city of approx. 160.000 inhabitants). The survey was deemed as a monitoring instrument for the development and well-being of children and adolescents in this city. The survey was conducted in all 14 secondary schools among 7 and 9 grades. It can be shown that supportive relations and especially relations to peers are quite important for well-being, but network ties are not the most important asset. However, neighbourhood deprivation seems to be irrelevant for well-being, stating that well-being is a rather individual concept that is not influenced by socio-spatial contexts.

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