Twum-Anti, Jeffries, Theron, Schnurr, & Ungar. (2020). Young people’s perceptions of identities in a rural oil and gas town experiencing boom-bust economic cycles. Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 3, 275–292.

To investigate young people’s experiences of living in a community dependent on resource extraction and processing industries during boom-bust economic cycles, we used a qualitative multi-method approach to engage 50 youth ages 13–24 in a study of resilience and well-being. As part of our analysis of resilience processes, we examined how young people’s perceptions of their community’s identity affect the strategies young people use to cope with stress and access supports. Data collection took place in a small town in western Canada dependent on oil and gas extraction. Applied thematic analysis indicated that young people participate in the co-construction of their community’s social, economic, and place-based identities and that these co-constructions shape the decisions young people make with regard to education, work, and relationships. We discuss implications for policies which can help youth cope with changing economic environments in rural communities dependent on a single extractive industry.

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