A quantitative examination of children/youth’s experiences of trust

Sub-project 4: A quantitative survey about children’s experiences of trust and distrust

Sub-project 4 is a survey exploring children and young people’s experiences of trust and distrust and how trust and distrust affect their well-being, participation and citizenship. The aim is to examine the prevalence of the findings from sub-projects 1 and 2. The survey is aimed at both children/young people at risk and children/young people that are not identified as being at risk. Sub-project 4 is carried out by Hanne Warming together with student assistants Manon Lavaud and Kristine Lagoni.

The shaping of the questionnaire is based on the empirical findings from sub-projects 1 and 2 and is  inspired by Luhmann’s concept of trust, Hart’s ‘Ladder of Participation’, Moosa-Mitha’s concept of difference-centred citizenship, Delanty’ four dimensions of citizenship (rights, duties, participation and identity) as well as his concept of inclusive and excluding learning processes of citizenship.

The questionnaire will partly ask about children/young people’s trust towards the public sphere, different adults (parents, teacher, pedagogue, social workers, ‘contact persons’ etc.), but also other children/young people’s capacity and will to help and support them when they need it. It will also consist of questions regarding children/young people’s experience of being trusted; being seen, listened to, recognised and involved adequately: In which situations do they experience it, in which do they not – and what does this mean to them?

The empirical basis is a survey including 200 children/young people at risk and 200 who are not identified as being at risk. The survey is limited to children/young people in 6th, 7th and 8th grade in Danish primary schools. While this means that the group is quite homogeneous with regard to age, we cannot expect that this will be the case regarding the children’s cognitive and social development, not least because some of the children at risk might be expected to face different kinds of developmental disabilities. This will be taken into account both in the shaping of the questionnaire and in the completion of the survey.

Research shows that children find it much easier, as well as more relevant and engaging, to answer questions that peers have shaped. Therefore, the questionnaire is based on the findings from the child-led exploratory workshops from sub-project 1. Finally, a group of children will also be involved as consultants in the process of designing the questionnaire.

The project will be carried out during Spring / Autumn 2012.