Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Not Mere Child's Play: The Impacts of Community Youth Programs on Childhood Social Development, Resilience, and Social Ecology in Rural Tamil Nadu, India
by Hardy, Rachel A., M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2013, 117; 10305831
Abstract (Summary)

Poverty is a risk that cannot be easily removed from a rural Indian child’s life. As shown in various resiliency studies, this risk can be mediated with the presence of protective factors, and literature repeatedly points to strong social skills and development as effective protective factors. Unfortunately, the social development of children is notably absent from aid organizations’ agendas and annual reports, betraying the fact that the social development of children is not a priority. In the dearth of aid organizations’ provision of social growth opportunities in impoverished areas, a child’s environment contains a variety of influences as outlined by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory (1977) that can nurture this social development, regardless of whether or not an economically disadvantaged family has the resources to foster such growth.

Community youth programs have been documented in helping reduce risk in addition to building protective factors, making these initiatives highly beneficial in economically disadvantaged areas. Building on resiliency, social development, and ecological systems literature, a case study conducted in the rural village of Kuilapalayam in Tamil Nadu, India, presents field research on the impacts of a community youth program on its child participants. This study finds that the children who attend the program are provided positive opportunities to develop socially, giving them the abilities to more easily access social support networks and work within and between these networks to find the reinforcing relationships, competence, and autonomy they need to become more resilient and successfully maneuver and adapt to their worlds.

Keywords: social development / resilience / community youth programs / poverty / India

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perry, Susan
Commitee: Choate, Peter
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs, Conflict Resolution, and Civil Society Development
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Developmental psychology, Public policy, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Community programs, India, Poverty, Resilience, Social development, Social ecology, Tamil Nadu, Youth programs
Publication Number: 10305831
ISBN: 978-1-369-49395-5
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