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Flashcards in Extended Response Deck (36):

Definition of Sense of community

“Sense of Community is that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that member’s needs will be met through their commitment together” (McMillan, 1976)


Territorial meaning of community

Geographical notion (neighbourhood or town)


Relational meaning of community

Relational definition: quality of relationships (with no reference to location)


Membership Definition

Provides a feeling of belonging, of being part of something bigger than oneself


The five attributes of Membership

- Boundaries
- Emotional Safety
- A sense of belonging and identification
- Personal investment
- A common symbol sense



Marked by things such as language, dress and ritual indicating who belongs and who does not


What do boundaries do

They are protection of personal space and a creation of social distances


Emotional Safety

Linked with boundaries as boundaries give people emotional safety and protect group intimacy


Sense of Belonging and Identification

feeling, belief and expectation that one fits in the group


Personal Investment

Working for membershipmembership creates feeling of having earned membership. Membership will therefore be more meaningful and valuable and it plays a large role in developing an emotional connection


Common Symbol System

creates and maintains sense of community often by maintaining boundaries


What are common symbols?

- Strong integrative function of collective representation
- Myths, symbols, rituals, rites, ceremonies, holidays
- Social conventions intentionally create distance between members and non-members


Influence Definition

Individuals sense of making a difference to its group


Two parts of Influence

Influence is bidirectional; members must be empowered to have influence over what a group does, and group cohesiveness depends upon the group having some influence over its members


Who has the strongest influence in a group?

Members who value the opinions of others


Who has little influence in a group?

Members who try to dominate or ignore other members


What does conformity serve as?

Closeness and an indicator of cohesiveness
Conforming behaviour indicates creation of group norms AND consensual validation of group members


What is integration and fulfilment of needs used to describe?

Used to describe not just survival needs, but to also include what is desired and valued by the person


What is needed for groups to stay together?



What are the aspects of integration and fulfilment of needs that are rewarding for group members?

- Status
- Competence
- Shared Values



Group success brings members closer together
For a group to do its best work it needs to be organised



People are attracted to others whose skills or competence can benefit them in some way
People are attracted to groups who can offer the most rewards


Shared Values

The source of the needs that communities fill
Groups with a sense of community work to find a way to fit people together so people’s needs are met by meeting their own needs


What is Rappaport (1977) person-environment fit?

Members of groups are seen as being rewarded in various ways for their participation


Shared emotional connection

Refers to the feeling we might have of being connected to another person through a common emotional response to a shared activity or event, that is, shared history


Contact hypothesis

The more people interact the more they will become close


Quality of the interaction

Positive relationships lead to stronger bonds
Success facilitates cohesion


Effect of honour and humilation

Someone who has been rewarded in front of a community feels more attracted to that community, and if humiliated feels less attraction


Glynn (1981)

Augmented (increased) by responses to a questionnaire distributed to randomly selected members of the Division of Community Psychology of the American Psychological Association.


What did Glynn hypothesise?

Administered measure to members of three communities and hypothesised that residents of Kfar Blum, and Israeli kibbutz, would demonstrate a greater sense of community than residents of two Maryland communities


What was found in Glynn's study?

As predicted, higher levels of sense of community were found in the kibbutz than in the two American towns – however, no differences were found among the three on the ideal scale


What were the strongest predictors of actual sense of community in Glynn's study?

o Expected length of community residency
o Satisfaction with the community
o The number of neighbours one could identify by first name


What did Glynn also find about positive relationships?

Glynn also found a positive relationship between sense of community and the ability to function competently in the community


What did Ahlbrant and Cunningham (1979) view sense of community as?

Viewed sense of community as an integral contributor to one’s commitment to a neighbourhood and satisfaction with it


What did Ahlbrant and Cunningham say about those who were most committed and satisfied see their neighbourhood as?

Those who were most committed and satisfied saw their neighbourhood as a small community within the city, were more loyal to the neighbourhood than to the rest of the city, and thought of their neighbourhood as offering particular activities for its residents


In Ahlbrant and Cunningham what was also considered to be a contributor to neighbourhood satisfaction?

The “strengths of interpersonal relationships” as measured through different types of neighbour interactions