Sense of community among Ukrainian Catholic young adults : a qualitative view
Lizak, Maria Victoria
﻿This study explored the experiences of young adult members of a Ukrainian Catholic community in Western Canada using the concept of sense of community as a conceptual framework. Psychological sense of community refers to “a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together” (p. 9, McMillan & Chavis, 1986). Sense of community has been studied primarily at the level of the individual, rather than the group or community. This research used focus groups to move beyond the level of the individual to examine the sense of community shared by Ukrainian Catholic young adults. A total of 22 young adults participated in six focus groups. Qualitative analysis of focus group transcripts using Ethnograph 5.07 (Robbins & Seidel, 1998) revealed that belonging, familiarity with community members, and trust that the community would support them, were three core aspects of the sense of community shared by these young adults. Three supportive aspects that increased sense of community also emerged from this study: participation in church services and community events, similarity in members’ beliefs, values, interests and goals, and a strong sense of one’s ethnic and religious heritage and traditions. These findings argue for the inclusion of participation as a dimension of sense of community rather than a correlate. Challenges to all of these aspects tended to decrease young adults’ sense of community. Lack of shared beliefs, feelings of intimidation in a new parish and hypocrisy in the actions of other community members were especially damaging to young adults’ sense of community. Based on this information, four areas of need were identified for the Ukrainian Catholic young adult population and suggestions were made to help strengthen their sense of community. The use of focus groups allowed for the emergence of a description of sense of community that was reflective of the ethnic, religious and developmental characteristics of the population under study. Future research should employ methodologies that are sensitive to the context-dependent nature of this construct.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeNoels, Kim; Kordan, Bohdan; Hampton, Mary; Sippola, Lorrie
Copyright DateJuly 2003
focus group method
sense of community