Our plan was to create an ‘Index’ that would enable us to measure the connectedness of children and youth in the four domains of family, school, community and peers.
We intended that that the index would:
- Enable us to track trends over time;
- Be part of the shared measurement system that the network would use to ensure that we were meeting our goal of substantially improving the well-being of children and youth in the capital region;
- Help us to share information about the importance of connectedness for well-being, particularly mental health; and
- Engage the community in increasing connectedness for young people.
A working group made up of members of the stewardship committee took on the task of developing the index.
We completed a comprehensive survey of all relevant indicators for measuring connectedness for young people that are currently in use worldwide. Then, we determined what data were available locally. As it turned out there were more data gaps than data.
We consulted with numerous experts throughout the process of selecting the measures.
When it became apparent that there weren’t sufficient data to create an index, we began to call what we had developed the ‘measures of connectedness’. These measures enabled us to compare Southern Vancouver Island data to data at level of the province of British Columbia.
Measures of Connectedness
The sources of available data are few. Three, in fact. They include:
- Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) (McCreary Centre Society): grades 7-12
- BC School Satisfaction Survey (BCSS) (Ministry of Education): grade 10 & 12
- Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) (Human Early Learning Partnership): grade 7*
*The MDI data sets are incomplete. South Vancouver Island data available from SD61 only and BC data is available from just a subset of school districts in the province.
The Measures of Connectedness
The following items were selected for each domain of connectedness:
- Family connectedness scale (AHS)
- How often did parent(s)/guardian(s) know what you were doing? (AHS)
- How often did parent(s)/guardian(s) eat an evening meal with you? (AHS)
- If you were having a serious problem, is there an adult in your family that you feel okay talking to? (AHS)
- The quality of relationships grade 7 students have with adults in their home (MDI)
- School Connectedness Scale (AHS)
- School Connectedness Composite Measure (designed by the Ministry of Health using BCSS data)
- The quality of relationships students have with adults at school (MDI)
- The quality of relationships students have with adults in the neighbourhood/community (MDI)
- In your neighbourhood /community, is there an adult who really cares about you? (AHS)
- How much you feel like you belong to your community? (AHS)
- If you were having a serious problem, is there an adult outside your family that you would feel okay talking to? (AHS)
- Peer Belonging Scale (MDI)
- Friendship Intimacy Scale (MDI)