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Title: Below the surface of sense of community within schools : an exploration of young people's sense of community, personality, and achievement motivation in relation to educational outcomes and well-being
Author: Sayer, Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 8422
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Contemporary psychology has linked humans’ societal nature to the need to feel part of a community. McMillan and Chavis (1986) conceptualised a sense of community (SoC), upon four factors: 1) membership; 2) influence; 3) integration and fulfilment of need; and, 4) shared emotional connection. SoC has been explored in a variety of contexts identifying distinct correlated outcome-variables. For adults and young people alike, a strong SoC is positively related to outcomes in personal performance, health, and well-being. Recently, consideration has focused on schools as key ‘educational communities’ where pupils develop a SoC and learn the rules of society. Key educational legislation within the UK emphasises the importance placed upon developing community cohesion within schools. Within educational settings SoC has been shown to relate strongly with this aim, as well as correspond with positive outcomes in both pupil performance and well-being. However, research has lacked focus upon the mechanisms involved in developing a positive SoC within young people. This has meant that schools, as moral agents in facilitating young people’s formation of SoC, are yet ill informed as to how they can help in this process. This study accessed the experiences of 777 pupils in the South of England (Mage=13.34years, %Male= 52) of their schools as communities. Ratings of pupil’s SoC were explored in relation to educational outcomes (Attainment, Attendance, Academic Self-concept) and measures of well-being (Self-Esteem, Life-satisfaction, Loneliness). Additional attention was paid to the hypothesised role of achievement motivation as an underlying mechanism between SoC and outcomes. Further, individual’s levels of Narcissism were explored as a potential personality level moderator. Correlation analyses indicated strong links between increased levels of SoC within school and multiple positive outcomes. Conditional processing models showed achievement motivation, notably via Mastery-Approach goals, to mediate all relationships, with Narcissism having a limited moderating effect.
Supervisor: Hart, Claire Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools