Longing to belong: personal social capital and psychological distress in an Australian coastal region

Helen Berry, Megan Shipley

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


There is a pervasive and frequently expressed perception about a sense of loss of community in Australia, together with a fear of its consequences, and a longing to belong and to reconnect with community. Prominent social theorists and social commentators have echoed this sentiment, as have politicians at all levels of
government and on both sides of Australian politics. These concerns are not limited to Australia, but are consistent with concerns, particularly about social exclusion, across the developed world. In addressing issues of disconnectedness and exclusion, it is essential to consider the roles played by (i) mental health problems in perpetuating exclusion and (ii) exclusion in generating or perpetuating mental health problems. It is also essential to note the multilevel impacts of disconnectedness and exclusion, which affect individuals, families
and communities. This study is a contribution to articulating and critically examining Australians’ perceptions about their levels of community participation, their thoughts and feelings about this, the effects it appears to have on their sense of connectedness to their community, and what it might mean for their mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherCommonwealth of Australia
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)
Number of pages160
ISBN (Print)9781921647086
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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