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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

Chapter 9 - Belonging

from Section 2 - Scoping


Attachment theory has become a central concept in our understanding of resilience in children and young people (Fonagy et al., 1994). However, attachment theory is a relatively narrow concept, focused on the relationship between a child and his or her principal caregivers and the child’s need to seek comfort when distressed (Waters et al., 2005). Furthermore, attachment theory concerns itself with individual person’s relationships, while recognising that children can have multiple attachment relationships. However, we know that children grow up in complex systems (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and there is a growing recognition that children and young people’s sense of belonging (to individuals, groups and organisations) is a key component of resilience (Hart et al., 2008). Thus, the concept of belonging encapsulates children’s relationships with their immediate families or carers, their friends and their friends’ families, their schools, social activities (Scouts, football clubs, youth clubs) and wider social experiences, such as religious organisations or cultural groups.