The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between perceived discrimination and a sense of belonging among youth in Canada. The paper will address the following research questions: Does perceived discrimination has impact on a sense of belonging among youth in Canada?
Methods: This paper uses the data from the 2014 General Social Survey Cycle 28: Canadians’ Safety and Security. This is a regular, cross-sectional survey for collecting the information of social trends regarding living conditions and well-being among Canadian over time and providing updated information for related policy-making processes. The survey targets the population of all individuals 15 years and older, not including the residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and full-time institutionalized residents. The overall rate of response was 52.8 %.
For the analysis, a sample of youth aged 15 to 24 was selected (n= 3,958). A binomial logistic regression analysis was applied to predict the association between perceived discrimination and a sense of belonging by controlling the factors of social capital (including a number of friend and relatives, trusting people in the neighborhood, trusting people in work and school), socioeconomic status (e.g., the level of education) and demographic characteristics (such as gender, marital status, visible minority and place of birth).
Results: There was a negative association between the perceived discrimination and a sense of belonging among youth when other covariates were controlled, X2(13, N= 3958) = 447.952, p< .0001, Nagelkerke R2 = .171. It reveals that youth who has experienced discrimination is less likely have a sense of belonging, which is 1.6 times lower than those of their counterparts who did not experience any type of discrimination. The covariates were statistically significant contributions to predict sense of belonging of youth including a number of friends and relatives; trusting people in the neighborhood; trusting people in work and school; and level of education.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings of this paper have confirmed that a sense of belonging among youth is negatively dependent on their perceived discrimination. The results suggest that social work can take an important role to implement school-based and workplace-based prevention and intervention programs, focusing on developing discrimination-free environments. In addition, it is necessary to have community-based practices and support services for preventing negative thinking and feelings of youth, which will help them strengthen their integration and attachment to their communities.