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Personal resilience and identity capital among young people leaving care: enhancing identity formation and life chances through involvement in volunteering and social action

Webb, L and Cox, N and Martikke, S and Cumbers, H and Gedzielewski, E and Duale, M (2016) Personal resilience and identity capital among young people leaving care: enhancing identity formation and life chances through involvement in volunteering and social action. Journal of Youth Studies.

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Abstract

This study explored identity capital and personal resilience among care leavers and young people in care engaging in social activities through volunteering. Care leavers and young people in care are disadvantaged developmentally by lack of identity resources and an accelerated transition to independence. This study analysed material from semi-structured interviews to explore the Identity Capital Model and theories of individualisation, agentic identity development and resilience in explaining the identity resources of young people transitioning out of care. The analysis identified links between the exploration opportunities of volunteering with the development of agentic individualisation and enhanced identity capital. The findings indicate that developmental processes may be enhanced through supported and personalised volunteering opportunities to aid vulnerable young people transitioning out of care. Young people leaving care can make substantial gains particularly in social capital, personal resilience and identity capital. This study indicates that volunteering opportunities for this group of vulnerable young people may assist in compensating for the lack of resources often experienced by care leavers when transitioning to adulthood.

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