TRANSITIONS TO ADULTHOOD AMONG FINNISH YOUNG PEOPLE: A mixed-methods study based on longitudinal register data and interviews with street-level professionals

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Background: While the majority of Finnish young adults make transitions to adulthood rather uniformly and successfully, many individuals face exclusion from employment or low pay and job inequalities associated with insecure labour markets. The general aim of this study is to examine the transitions to adulthood of Finnish young people. The research describes how the processes of transition to adulthood emerge in terms of human capital (education / skills / health) acquisition and development, and labour market transitions. It describes how the welfare state interventions operate as a structure in this process. The study aims to explicate how the work disabilities are associated with the processes of social stratification in young adulthood. Methods: The study was conducted using a mixed methods approach. Sub-studies I-III were cohort studies using a nationally representative 60 % sample of children born between 1983-1985 in Finland, and who were living in Finland in 2001 (N= 119,600, 49% female). The register data were collected from several administrative registers (Statistics Finland, Social Insurance Institution, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, National Institute for Health and Welfare). The follow-up period lasted 10 years to cover the age period between the ages between 17 and 26. In sub-study IV, interviews with professionals of the service system provided in-depth information about the services provided to young people at risk of marginalization (n = 40). Results: Most of the studied young people were integrated into the labour market at the end of the ten-year follow-up. Persons with low educational qualifications, sickness and disability benefit claimants and those with a history in the foster care system were in a considerably weaker socio-economic position than the general population at the end of the follow-up. The results from quantitative analyses confirm dynamic and reciprocal relations between all core variables of the study, i.e. education, disability, income, employment. The analyses of welfare services reveal the intristic connections between different welfare state sectors. The quantitative analysis provided an account on the prevalence of these connections, whereas the qualitative analysis revealed essential problems in the cooperation between welfare state sectors that are, most notably, related to integrating health services as a part of a holistic service processes and supported employment services that help in converting ‘received investments’ in human capital into employment relations. Conclusion: It is concluded that the patterns of social stratification are not a constant in the early adulthood. Individual attributes of social stratification are best understood as co-occurring dimensions in the multidimensional process of becoming an adult. It is further concluded that the social investment approach as a life course approach to social policies could serve the normative function of construing the heterogeneous needs of both population in general and the heterogeneous disadvantaged groups as universal, in a strategy combining the ‘curative’ and ‘preventive’ approaches to social risk management.
Tilldelande institution
  • Helsingfors universitet
  • Kouvonen, Anne, Handledare
  • Virtanen, Marianna, Handledare, Extern person
  • Seppälä, Ullamaija, Handledare
Tilldelningsdatum23 nov 2018
Tryckta ISBN978-951-51-3359-5
Elektroniska ISBN978-951-51-3360-1
StatusPublicerad - 23 nov 2018
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)


  • 5142 Social- och samhällspolitik
  • 5141 Sociologi

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