Youth Living in Residential Care: Implications for Leisure and Identity
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The purpose of this study was to explore the intersection of living in residential care, leisure engagement, and adolescent identity development. The investigation included the voices of six youth living in a residential care facility in southern Ontario. The data was collected through participant observations, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. Moustakas’ (1994) modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method was used to analyze the data. The findings determined that living in residential care is rife with dialectical tensions that impact leisure and identity. The youth shared poignant narratives of how living in residential care was a stigmatizing experience that left them feeling restricted and isolated. They also shared their struggles with finding autonomy in a secured facility and managing the violent discourses of their peers. This research contributes to a burgeoning body of literature that explores the experiences of youth living in out-of-home care. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.