Adolescents’ Sense of Community and Involvement in Playground Activities: Panacea to Ameliorate Social Vices and Delinquencies

Oluwagbemiga Paul Agboola, Mohamad Hisyam Rasidi, Ismail Said


Researchers have identified defects in the physical environments in which they interact and play, which has resulted in a decline the expected values initiated in both the social, physical and psychological developments. The role of playground in the development of adolescent’s health, moral and social standard has attracted lower interest in the recent time. The adolescent sense of community relates to a positive experience in the community open space setting such as playground and social well-being with their peers in general. Over time, little efforts have been initiated by the researchers towards these phenomena. This current study fills the gap by examining the adolescents’ sense of community through a quantitative survey via appraisal of the quality of community playground, emotional connection and effects of their participation in playground activities on ameliorating the delinquents’ behavior and social vices. Completed survey questionnaires retrieved from a total number of 69 purposive respondents who are adolescents from three towns and analyzed through relative importance index (RII) via Likert scale. Results from the analysis indicated that adolescents’ positive attitudinal changes and reduction in social vices and delinquent’s behavior could be achieved through their involvements in quality and well-equipped playgrounds. Similarly, the significant role of sense of community in enhancing adolescent social participation in playground activities contributes to a major role in increasing their social well-being and togetherness. Thus, the study recommends appropriate future planning, design, and management of neighborhood playgrounds in Nigeria.

Full Text:



Abdelkader S. and Bouslama N. (2014). Adolescents Sense of Community: A New Measurement Scale. Journal of Marketing Research & Case Studies, Article ID 255150, DOI: 10.5171/2014.255150.

Agboola, O. P., Zango M.S. & Zakka S. M. (2015): Towards Sustainability of Open Space’s Planning and Management in Nigeria: Roles of Science and Technology. Jurnal Teknologi. 27 (14). 51-56. DOI: 10.11113/jt. v77.6446.

Agboola O.P. (2011). Enhancing Juvenile Reformation through Architectural Intervention. Journal of Faculty of Management Sciences, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, Osun State. Maiden edition. 98-103

Agboola O. P. & Salawu R. A. (2015). Examining the Role of Architects Vis-A-Vis Quantity Surveyors in The Building Industry at South West, Nigeria. International Journal of Research in Social Sciences. Vol. 04, No.9. 79- 89. http://

Agnew, R. (1985). A revised strain theory of delinquency. Social Forces, 64, 151−167. DOI:

Agnew, R. (1993). Representing Space, Space, Scale and Culture in Social Science: In Place/ Culture/Representation (J. Duncan and D. Ley eds). London. Routledge.

Attar, B. K., & Guerra, N. G. (1994). The Effects of Cumulative Violence Exposure on Children Living in Urban Neighborhoods. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Society Convention, Washington, D.C.

Bedimo-Rung AL, Mowen AJ, Cohen DA. (2005). The Significance of Parks to Physical Activity and Public Health: A Conceptual Model.Am J Prev Med. 28 (2 Suppl 2):159-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2004.10.024.

Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Greg J. Duncan, Pamela Kato Klebanov, and Naomi Sealand. (1993). “Do Neighborhoods Influence Child and Adolescent Development?” American Journal of Sociology 99:353–95. DOI: 10.1086/230268.

Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Greg J. Duncan, and J. Lawrence Aber, eds. (1997). Neighborhood Poverty, Vols. 1 and 2. New York: Russell Sage.

Buckner, J. C. (1988). The development of an instrument to measure neighborhood cohesion. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16(6), 771-791. DOI: 10.1007/BF00930892.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003). (accessed 3rd January 2017).

Chavis, D. M., & Wandersman, A. (1990). Sense of community in the urban environment: A catalyst for participation and community development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18,55-81. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-8646-7_14.

Chen D. (2006). Shared Outdoor Spaces and Community Life: Assessing the Relationship Between Design and Social Interaction. Master thesis. University of Guelpgh. 1-66

Chipuer, H.M., Pretty, G.H., Delorey, E., Miller, M., Powers, T., Rumstein, O. (1999). The Neighbourhood Youth Inventory: development and validation. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 9, 355-368. DOI: 10.1002/jcop.20173.

Cicognani E., Zani, B and Albanesi C. (2012). Sense of community in adolescence. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice. Vol.3 (4). Pp 119-125.

Cohen, D., Ashwood, J., Scott, M., Overton, O., Evenson, R., Staten, L., Porter, D., Mckenzie, T. and Catellier, D., (2006). Public Parks and Physical Activity Among Adolescent Girls. Pediatrics, Vol.118 (5) Pp.1381-1389. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-1226.

Coleman John C. & Hendry Leo B. (1990). The Nature of Adolescence. Routledge, ISBN 0415014859, 9780415014854

Connell, J.P., Halpern-Felsher, B.L., Clifford, E., & Crichlow, W. (1995). Hanging in there: Behavioral, Psychological, And Contextual Factors Affecting Whether African-American Adolescents Stay In High School. Journal of Adolescent Research, 10~11, 41–63

Davidson, W. B., & Cotter, P. R. (1989). Sense of Community and Political Participation. Journal of Community Psychology, 17, 119–125.

De Vries, S., Verheij, R., Groenewegen, P., and Spreeuwenberg, P., (2003). ‘Natural Environments - Healthy Environments? An Exploratory Analysis of the Relationship Between Greenspace and Health,’ Environment and Planning. Vol.35 pp.1717-31

Evans S.D. (2007). Youth Sense of Community: Voice and Power in Community Contexts. Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 35, No. 6, 693–709.

Everson, K. R., Scott, M. M., Cohen, D. A. and Voorhees, C. C., (2007). Girls’ Perception of Neighborhood Factors on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and BMI. Obesity, 15, 430-445.

Francis, J., Giles-corti, B., Wood, L., & Knuiman, M. (2012). Creating Sense of Community: The Role of Public Space. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 32 (4), 401–409. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.07.002.

Fitzpatrick, K. M., & Boldizar, J. P. (1993). The prevalence of depression among low-income African American youth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 528–531.

Garbarino, James, Robert H. Abramowitz, and C. Elliot Asp. (1985). Adolescent Development: An Ecological Perspective. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill.

Gehl, J. (1987) Life between Buildings (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold).

Giles-Corti, B., Broomhall, M., Knuiman, M., Collins, C., Douglas, K., Ng, K., Lange, A. and Donovan, R., (2005). ‘Increasing Walking - How Important is Distance to Attractiveness and Size of Public Open Space?’ American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, pp.169-76.

Giles-Corti B., & Donovan R.J. (2002). The Relative Influences of Individual, Social Environmental and Physical Environmental Correlates to Working. Journal of Social Science & Medicine 54. 1793–1812.

Glynn, T. J. (1981). Psychological Sense of Community: Measurement and Application. Human Relations, 34, 780-818.

Gobster P.H. (2001). Neighbourhood - Open Space Relationships in Metropolitan Planning: A look across four scales of concern, Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 6:2, 199-212.

Gordon-Larsen P., McMurray R.C.& Popkin B.M. (2000): Environmental and Socio-Demographic Determinants of Adolescents Physical Activity and Inactivity. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Journal of Pediatrics. Vol. 13, Issue 3. Pp 301-306.

Grahn, P. and Stigsdotter, U., (2003). ‘Landscape Planning and Stress,’ Urban Forestry Urban Greening Vol.2, pp.1-18.

Grow, H., Saelens, B., Kerr, J., Durant, N., Norman, G. and Sallis, J., (2008). ‘Where are Youth Active? Roles of Proximity, Active Transport, and Built Environment’, Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol 40. Viewed 3 March 2009, www.acsm-

Hakim, C. (2003). Models of the Family in Modern Societies: Ideals and Realities. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Hamdan, H., Yusof, F., & Marzukhi, M. A. (2014). Social Capital and Quality of Life in Urban Neighborhoods High-Density Housing. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 153, 169–179.

Hester, R. T. (1975). Neighbourhood Space. Pennsylvania: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc.

Hill, J. L. (1996). Psychological Sense of Community: Suggestions for Future Research. Journal of Community Psychology, 24(4), 431-438.

Hirschi, Travis. (1969). Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Hunter New England Population Health, (2007). Building Liveable Communities in the Lower Hunter Region.

Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Vintage Books)

James, P., Tzoulas, K., Adams, M. D., Barber, A., Box, J., Breuste, J., Elmqvist, T., Frith, M., Gordon, C., Greening, K. L., Handley, J., Haworth, S., Kazmierczak, A. E., Johnston, M., Korpela, K., Moretti, M., Niemelä, J., Pauleit, S., Roe, M. H., Sadler, J. P. & Ward Thompson, C. (2009) Towards an integrated understanding of green space in the European built environment, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 8, pp. 65–75

Jenkins, E. J., & Bell, C. G. (1994). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Violence Among Inner-City High School Students. In S. Friedman (Ed.), Anxiety disorders in African Americans. NY: Springer

Kaczynski, A. T., Potwarka, L. R. & Saelens, B. E. (2008) Association of Park Size, Distance, And Features with Physical Activity in Neighborhood Parks, American Journal of Public Health, 98, pp. 1451–1456

Lennard, S. H. C.&Lennard, H. L. (1987) Livable Cities—People and Places: Social and Design Principles for the Future of the City, Center for Urban Well-Being (New York: Southhampton).

Li, F. Z., Fisher, K. J., Brownson, R. C., (2005). ‘Multilevel Modelling of Built Environment Characteristics Related to Neighbourhood Walking Activity in Older Adults’. Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, Vol.59 pp.558-64.

Lim E.C, and Alum J. (1995): Construction Productivity: issues encountered by contractors in Singapore. International Journal of Project Management;13(1):51–8.

Lounsbury, J. W., J. M. Loveland, Gibson, L. W. (2003). An investigation of psychological sense of community in relation to big five personality traits. Journal of Community Psychology, 31 (5), 531-541.

Maas, J., Verheij, R. A., Groenewegen, P., de Vries, S. and Spreeuwenberg, P., (2006). ‘Green Space, Urbanity, and Health: How Strong is the Relation?’ Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, Vol.60, .587-92.

Marcus, C. C., & Sarkissian, W. (1986). Housing as if People Mattered: Site Design Guidelines for Medium-Density Family Housing. Berkeley: University of California Press

Martinez, P., & Richters, J. E. (1993). The NIMH community violence project: II. Children’s distress symptoms associated with violence exposure. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and BiologIcal Processes, 56, 22–35.

Maton, K.I. (1990). Meaningful involvement in instrumental activity and well-being: Studies of older adolescents and at risk urban teen-agers. American Journal of Community Psychol ogy, 18~21. 297–320.

McCord Joan (1993). Descriptions and Predictions: Three Problems for the Future of Criminological Research. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 30 (4):412-425

Moore, Robin C. (1992). A place for all Guidelines, Planning, Designs, and Management for Outdoor Play Settings for Children. 2nd Edition. California. MIG Communications.

Mounts NS, and Steinberg L. (1995). An Ecological Analysis of Peer Influence on Adolescent Grade Point Average and Drug Use. Dev. Psychol. 31:915–22.

Morita, E., Fukuda, S., Nagano, J., Hamajima, N., Yamamoto, H., Iwai, Y., Nakashima, T., Ohira, H, and Shirakawa, T., (2007). ‘Psychological Effects of Forest Environments on Healthy Adults: Shinrin-Yoku (Forest-Air Bathing, Walking) as a Possible Method of Stress Reduction’. Public Health, Vol.121, pp.54-63

McMillan, D. W. & Chavis, D. M. (1986). “Sense of Community: A Definition and Theory,” Journal of Community Psychology, volume 14, January, (6-23)

McNeill, L. H., Kreuter, M. W., & Subramanian, S. V. (2006). Social Environment and Physical Activity: A Review of Concepts and Evidence. Social Science and Medicine, 63, 1011-1022

Nasar, J. L., & Julian, D. A. (1995). The psychological sense of community in the neighborhood. Journal of the American Planning Association, 61, 178-184

Nasution, A. D., & Zahrah, W. (2014). Community Perception on Public Open Space and Quality of Life in Medan, Indonesia. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 153, 585–594. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.10.091.

Nielsen, T. S., Hansen, K. B., (2007). ‘Do Green Areas Affect Health? Results from a Danish Survey on the Use of GreenAreasandHealthIndicators’. Health Place.Vol.13, Pp.839-850. DOI: 0.1016/j.healthplace.2007.02.001.

Obst P, Zinkiewicz L, Smith S. G. (2002). Sense of Community in Science Fiction Fandom, Part 2: Comparing Neighborhood and Interest Group Sense of Community. Journal of Community Psychology; 30:105–17. DOI: 10.1002/jcop.1052.

Osofsky, J. D. (1995). The effects of exposure to violence on young children. American Psychologist, 50, 782–788.

Perkins, D., Florin, P., Rich, R., Wandersman, A. & Chavis, D. (1990). Participation and the social and physical environment of residential blocks: Crime and community context. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 83-115

Perkins, D. D., & Long, A. D. (2002). Neighbourhood sense of community and social capital: A multi-level analysis. In A. Fischer, C. Sonn & B. Bishop (Eds.), Psychological sense of community: Research, applications and implications (pp. 291-318). New York: Plenum Press.

Peterson, N.A., Speer, P.W., & McMillan, D.W. (2008). Validation of a brief Sense of Community Scale: Confirmation of the principal theory of sense of community. Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 61 – 73

Pettiway Leon E. (1985). Measures of opportunity and the calculation of the arson rate: The connection between operationalization and association. Journal of Quantitative Criminology. Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 241–268.

Plas, J., & Lewis, S. (1996). Environmental Factors and Sense of Community in A Planned Town. American Journal of Community Psychology, 24, 109-143

Pretty, G.M.H., Conroy, C., Dugay, J., Fowler, K. & Williams, D. (1996). Sense of Community and its relevance to adolescents of all ages. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 24 (4), 365-379

Pretty, G.M.H., Andrews, L. & Collett, C. (1994). Exploring adolescents’ Sense of Community and its relationships to loneliness. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 22, 346-357.

Pretty, G.M.H. (2002). Young People’s Development of The Community-Minded Self: Considering Community Identity, Community Attachment and Sense of Community. In A.T. Fisher, C.C. Sonn, & B.J. Bishop. Eds. Psychological sense of community: Research, applications, and implications. 183–2031 New York: Kluwer Academic. Plenum Publishers

Prezza, M. & Costantini, S. (1998). Sense of Community and Life Satisfaction: Investigation in Three Territorial Contexts. Journal of Community and Social Psychology, 8, 181-194.

Proescholdbell, R.J., Roosa, M. R., & Nemeroff, C. J. (2006). Component Measures of Psychological Sense of Community Among Gay Men. Journal of Community Psychology, 34 (1), 9-24.

Puddifoot, J.E. (1996). Some initial considerations in the measurement of community identity. Journal of Community Psychology, 24 (4), 327-337

Sarason, S.B. (1974). The psychological sense of community: Prospects for a community psychology 1st edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Scholte, E.M. (1992) Prevention and treatment of juvenile problem behaviour: A proposal for a socio-ecological approach. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 20:3, 247– 262.

Scott, David and Willits. Fern K. (1998). “Adolescent and Adult Leisure Patterns: A Reassessment.” Journal of Leisure Research 30:3, Third Quarter: 319-330.

Skjaeveland, O., Garling, R., & Maeland, J. G. (1996). A multidimensional measure of neighboring. American Journal of Community Psychology, 24(3), 413-435.

Skjaeveland, O. and Gärling, T. (1997) Effects of Interactional Space on Neighbouring. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 17, 181 – 198

Snyder H.N. and Sickmund M. (1999). Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Pennsylvania. U.S.

Steinberg L. and Morris A. S. (2001). Adolescents development. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2001. 52:83–110. DOI: 10.1177/074355840325885

Sullivan, W. C., Kuo, F., & Depooter, S. F. (2004). The Fruit of Urban Nature: Vital Neighbourhood Spaces. Environment and Behavior, 36 [5], 678-700.

Sunarja, A., Wood, G. and Giles-Corti, B., (2008), A Factsheet on Healthy Public Open Space Design for Multi-Users and Multi-Uses, Perth, Western Australia: Centre For the Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia. Viewed on 3 March 2009,

Thompson, S., September (2008). ‘Design for Open Space Factsheet’, Your Development. Viewed on 11 February 2009,

Tsai, T. A. (2014). Strategies of Building a Stronger Sense of Community for Sustainable Neighbourhoods: Comparing accessibility with Community Empowerment Programs. Sustainability, 6, 2766–2785.

Urberg, K. A., Degirmencioglu, S. D., & Pilgrim, C. (1997). Close friend and group influence on adolescent cigarette smoking and alcohol use. Developmental Psychology.

Valle, Esther (2008). Sense of Community: A Comparative Study of Two Design Methods New Urbanism and Participatory Design, Focus. Vol. 5: (1) Article 10.DOI: 10.15368/focus.2008v5n1.5.

WA Department of Sport and Recreation, facts and stats – Benefits of Physical Activity, Government of Western Australia, Perth. Viewed on 26 February 2009,

Wentzel Kathryn R. and Caldwell Kathryn (1997). Friendships, Peer Acceptance, and Group Membership: Relations to Academic Achievement in Middle School. Vol. 68, No. 6. Pp. 1198-1209

Whyte, W.H., (1980). The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Conservation Foundation, Washington, DC

Wilkinson, D. (2007). The Multidimensional Nature of Social Cohesion: Psychological Sense of Community, Attraction, and Neighboring Am J Community Psychol. ;40(3-4):214-29.

Wood, L., Frank, L. D., & Giles-corti, B. (2010). Social Science & Medicine Sense of Community and Its Relationship with Walking and Neighborhood Design Q. Social Science & Medicine, 70(9), 1381–1390. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.01.021

Youniss, J., McLellan, J.A., & Yates, M. (1997). What We Know About Engendering Civic Identity. American Behavioral Scientist, 40~5! 620–631.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability

License URL:


Copyright © 2014 Penerbit UTM Press, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Disclaimer : This website has been updated to the best of our knowledge to be accurate. However, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the usage of any information obtained from this web site.

Best viewed: Mozilla Firefox 4.0 & Google Chrome at 1024 × 768 resolution.