Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Colleen Loomis

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Terry Mitchell

Advisor Role

Internal Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Alisat

Advisor Role

Internal Committee Member


The present study focused on sense of community and community involvement in emerging and young adulthood and examined how these relate to involvement in an early childhood developmental (ECD) program. This study explored the effects of early childhood participation in the Better Beginnings Better Futures (Better Beginnings) program on entrance into communities later in life. The research objectives were to (i) identify factors related to developing sense of community in emerging and young adulthood and (ii) understand differences in adulthood sense of community based on early childhood experiences. The sample consisted of young adults who participated in three Better Beginnings sites across Ontario (n = 9, mean age 27.67) and young adults from two comparison communities who did not participate in such a program (n = 9, mean age 28.10). Community stories were collected through semi-structured, open-ended interviews and analyzed between and as a combined group (N = 18). Findings illustrated an ecological framework of interacting factors related to sense of community, including personal, interpersonal, organizational, temporal, and sociocultural factors. Qualitative differences between the two groups included higher levels of community involvement and positive descriptions of self-growth from community experiences for the Better Beginnings participants. Findings have implications for understanding the development of sense of community and for the continued support of ECD programs and their ability to impact participants' lives years later.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season