Young People and their Future Selves

The aim of this research is to investigate the ways ‘disadvantaged’ young people deal with social challenges in their everyday lives. Specifically, it looks at the role formal interventions and ‘significant others’ have in supporting young people as they realise their aspirations and become their ‘future selves’.

The study – which is now in its final stage – engaged with 21 individuals who had taken part in a pro-social development programme. This programme combined residential and community-based support with the aim of young people to overcome social challenges, make positive choices and ‘realise their potential’. The research participants were interviewed as young adults, several years after they had taken part in the Programme, and adopted an in-depth biographical approach. The interviews also utilised ‘video diary’ footage filmed by young people during their engagement with the programme in which they reflect on, and talk to, their ‘future self’. This approach has enabled us to understand support beyond a specific intervention, and instead enable participants to reflect on support (both formal and informal) as situated within their wider social connections, historical events and life experiences.

This project is a pilot study funded by The University of Edinburgh’s Challenge Fund.

Emma Davidson

Funding details:
The University of Edinburgh Challenge Fund

Research team:
Emma Davidson, CRFR, Lisa Whittaker, University of Glasgow

To March 2015

Young people: transitions: support; relationships; future selves

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