Keeping Connected

  • Identity, social connection and education for young people living with chronic illness

    School connectedness and retention is an established key to both immediate and long-term health, academic and life outcomes. Young people with significant chronic health conditions often miss schooling and get caught in a spiral of catching up and disconnection from important peer relationships and from school.

    Using a primarily qualitative methodology this study investigates the experiences and perspectives of young people whose schooling is disrupted by chronic illness or long-standing physical trauma resulting from accident. It also investigates the perspectives of parents, health care and education professionals.

    The project brings together a multi-disciplinary team of education and adolescent health researchers, together with industry partners from the Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute. Visual and narrative research methods will help illuminate the educational and social experiences of young people with an ongoing health condition. The study also has a longitudinal framework, and the experiences and perspectives of young people will be elicited through in depth interviews over a three-year period.

    Through examining the professional and institutional processes that support or impede young people's connection to education, the research will build a new foundation for best practice for the professionals and institutions who work with young people in this situation. The research will highlight key considerations for improving the services offered by health and schooling professionals, and provide better knowledge about the processes by which disconnection occurs.

    Project web site:

    Keeping Connected, University of Melbourne

    Contact person:

    Dr Sarah Drew
    Ph: 9345 7924

    Staff working on project:

    • Sarah Drew (CAH)
    • Lyndal Bond
    • in collaboration with a large team of co-investigators from the
    • Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, and staff from The Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute

    Project Start Date:


    Estimate Completion Date:

    Funding concludes in 2010. Development of publications will continue after that date.  



    ARC Linkage Grant