- This qualitative study investigated how urban adolescents' in Botswana personalized bedrooms to express identity and develop place attachment because identity development in adolescents is important. Participants living in Gaborone, capital city of Botswana, were purposively selected from local schools. There were ten (10) non-sharing urban adolescents aged 14-18 years. Data were collected through the use of a questionnaire for demographic and background information and semi-structured questions that guided in-depth interviews. Participants described how personalized bedrooms expressed their identities and developed attachment to their place.
Adolescent boys had personalized their bedrooms more because they were in control of the decoration whereas parental control was high for girls. Decorative and personal items played an important role in identity exploration and commitment. The items expressed and supported their interests, goals, and values. They were important to express past self, present self, and future self. Identity emergent themes were family/social identity, religious identity, gender identity, age identity, current roles/identity (mainly student identity). In addition to these, boys expressed sport identity, self image, creative self and achievements. The girls concentrated more on current roles as students whilst boys were already fully exploring future interests and self.
Themes that emerged in relation to place attachment and personalization were feeling at home, cultural linkages, and social linkages. Opportunity to be creative, childhood reminders, expressed identity, and social interactions achieved through personalization were important in developing place attachment. Participants preferred their places to others because of the bedroom contents that supported their interests and goals. The most important items that created place attachment for all the adolescents were beds. The technology in the boys' bedrooms promoted place attachment and place dependence. Contrary to literature, length of stay at residence was not the primary factor. Place attachment and place dependence were mainly attributed to privacy, bigger bedrooms, and enjoyment provided by personal items in the bedroom. The findings indicated the interplay of personalization on identity and place attachment. Expressed identities and developed place attachment achieved through personalization were indicators and outcomes for sense of identity, sense of security, social ties, goal achievement, emotional bond, and control over a place.