Can Asset Mapping be Used to Gain Insight into Children's Wellbeing
Whiting, Lisa Suzanne
In recent years, there has been an enormous growth in the literature that has focussed upon assets, in other words emphasising the positive attributes of both people and communities; these include children and young people’s developmental assets, community asset mapping and public health, all of which have generated a wide range of literature. Although there has been some consideration of assets within a child health context, this is limited and no literature has previously documented the mapping of children’s assets at an individual level. It has long been recognised that wellbeing is an integral aspect of health. Children’s wellbeing has been the focus of much concern at both national and international levels; this has resulted in the publication of key documents by prominent organisations, as well as the undertaking of a range of research. Despite this, studies have not previously sought to map the assets underpinning children’s wellbeing – this research has addressed this deficit. This study was supported by a theoretical framework that was specifically developed to guide the study. An ethnographic approach and a photo elicitation method were drawn upon to facilitate the gaze through the lens of ‘Activities that I Enjoy’; this in turn enabled the mapping and emergence of assets that underpin children’s wellbeing. Two primary schools in the south-east of England were used to recruit twenty Year 5 children (aged 9-11 years of age). The participants, ten boys and ten girls, were given disposable cameras and asked to take photographs of the activities that they enjoyed. The children’s photographs were integral to subsequent individual semi-structured interviews that sought to gain insight into children’s wellbeing. ii A constant comparative analysis technique facilitated the mapping of assets that underpinned the children’s wellbeing; this process revealed one overall Stabilising Asset as well as eight internal and three external assets. Whilst some of the assets have been previously recognised, others have not; in particular, the study revealed ‘When I Have Got Nothing To Do: Resourcefulness’ as an internal asset that has not formerly been articulated. All of the assets are presented within the ‘I’m Good’: Children’s Asset Wheel [CAW], an original model that provides a new and important insight as well as being an integral component of the initial guiding theoretical framework. As its contribution to knowledge, the study offered a number of key insights including: The presentation of an innovative guiding theoretical framework that not only has the potential to inform future research, but also professionals in relation to the practicalities of asset mapping. Secondly, the study developed and documented a detailed original approach to asset mapping at an individual level; thirdly, the research facilitated the design of the CAW which encapsulates the assets underpinning children’s wellbeing. Appropriate dissemination strategies have been initiated, and will continue, in order to facilitate the study’s contribution to the existing body of knowledge.