Connectedness is a sense of being cared for, personally accepted, valued and supported by others as well as enjoyment of and feeling attached to family, friends, school or workplace and the wider community. The four main protective factors promoting resilience in young people are family connectedness, school connectedness, religious affiliation or spirituality and beliefs in the norms of society. The more a young person has a sense of connectedness to their family, peers and school the less likely it is that they will engage in high-risk behaviours such as alcohol or drug abuse, or to develop anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts. A study of 941 final-year (year 12) students in Victoria, Australia found high levels of depression, anxiety and stress with higher negative affect being associated with lower levels of family, peer and school connectedness. Negative affect 1 year after leaving school was predicted by negative affect and peer connectedness at year 12. The results of the study suggested that there were significant numbers of at-risk young people in their final year of school who felt lonely and disconnected from their peers and who maintained worrying levels of depression, anxiety and stress in their first year at university.
McGraw, Karen ... [et al] - Family, peer and school connectedness in final year secondary school students. Australian Psychologist March 2008, 43(1), 27-37