Exploring the social support of children in key stage two: The development of a new tool (SOPSS) to elicit children’s perceptions of their social support.
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Social support, and in particular perceived social support, has been established in past research to be related to many areas of functioning. Positive perceptions of social support have been associated with; happiness; well-being; mental health and, in children, school attainment. However, the majority of past research has been conducted in the USA, and little research has looked at perceived social support in the UK. Therefore, an in depth exploration of the perceptions of social support of children, within key stage two in the UK was undertaken to establish children’s viewpoints. This exploration indicates that children in the UK perceive social support from a wide range of sources, some of which have not been discussed in previous literature. These sources include an extensive range of family members, friends, and people in the community, as well as toys and animals. The style of support which children value is also wide ranging; it includes the desire for a sense of being seen and heard; their needs being responded to; time and attention being provided in a fun and interactive way; and having shared experiences or interests with their supporters . The exploration of perceived social support in the UK informed the development of a new scale of perceived social support (SOPSS). This scale has been initially piloted in a small group of children, appropriate adaptations have been made and a large scale pilot has been completed. The analysis of the SOPSS initially provides some good evidence that it is a reliable and valid tool. Although further refinement is required, as well as validation in a larger and more diverse population, the tool initially appears to be a valuable addition to the existing social support literature.
DEdPsy in Educational Child and Community Psychology
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