Browsing by Subject "youth"

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  • Saarinen, Sanni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The aim of this study is to examine relations between body mass index, self-esteem, body image and adolescents thoughts about body positivity. Earlier study has showed relation among increasing body mass index, body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem. Body positivity has its roots in the fat acceptance movement in the late 1960s. Goal of the body positivity movement is to address unrealistic ideals about beauty, promote self-acceptance, and build self-esteem and learning to love oneself to the fullest. Body positivity is popular on social media and in Finland discourses about it are controversial. Some think it is a good for health and self-esteem, others think it glamorizes overweight. Finnish adolescents thoughts about body positivity has not been explored before this study. This statistical study was made in Spring 2019. The research subjects were finnish adolescents aged 13-18. The data was obtained from the adolescents by an electronic enquiry. The sample consisted of N=109 adolescents, n 89 women, n 19 men and n 1 transgender. The data was analyzed by using SPSS Statistics 25 program and frequencies, cross-tabulations, Pearson`s correlations, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA tests. In this study self-esteem or body image were not varied by age. Body image was varied by gender so that girls had lower body image than boys. Body mass index were not significant for self esteem or body image and disagreed with earlier study. Physical activity behind many of the adolescents has been noticed while reporting results. Term body positivity was familiar for 72,4 % of participants, specially from social media. Girls knew it more often than boys and estimated its effects for better self-love stronger than boys. Majority of adolescents thought that body positivity tries to increase self-love among every size and age. Only few thought that body positivity glamorize overweight and obesity. This research reveals that there is a need for wider study around relations between body mass index, self-esteem, body image and body positivity among adolescents. This study offers a base for extensive study in the future.
  • Savolainen, Iina; Sirola, Anu; Kaakinen, Markus; Oksanen, Atte (2019)
    Gambling opportunities have increased rapidly during recent years. Previous research shows that gambling is a popular activity among youth, which may contribute to problem gambling. This study examined how social identification with online and offline peer groups associates with youth problem gambling behavior and if perceived social support buffers this relationship. Data were gathered with an online survey with 1212 American and 1200 Finnish participants between 15 and 25 years of age. Measures included the South Oaks Gambling Screen for problem gambling, and items for peer group identification and perceived social support. It was found that youth who identify strongly with offline peer groups were less likely to engage in problem gambling, while strong identification with online peer groups had the opposite effect. We also found that the associations between social identification and problem gambling behavior were moderated by perceived social support. Online peer groups may be a determinant in youth problem gambling. Focusing on offline peer groups and increasing social support can hold significant potential in youth gambling prevention.
  • Olkkonen, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In this thesis I concentrate on diaspora peacebuilding and examine the potential of the Finnish Somali diaspora for peace in Somalia. My research question is, how members of the Finnish Somali diaspora perceive the greatest challenges and primary needs in Somalia for peace and their abilities to contribute to peace in the country. My research data consists of eight semi-structured interviews resembling themed interviews. These interviews were conducted with active members of the Finnish Somali diaspora, and I have analysed them by using qualitative content analysis. The aims of my research are to contribute to the current critical academic discussion on peacebuilding and to deepen the discussion on diaspora peacebuilding, as well as to bring out voices from the Finnish Somali diaspora regarding peacebuilding. In the theory chapter I review current academic discussion on the challenges of peacebuilding related to local ownership and negotiated hybridity and examine novel academic literature on the strengths of diaspora for peacebuilding. Drawing from both theoretical literatures, I suggest that diaspora could mitigate shortcomings on the peacebuilding field for example with the help of context-specific knowledge and a more nuanced understanding of actors and power structures at play in their place of origin, and by helping to bridge the gap between the local and the international. In the material analysis I examine the challenges and needs for peace in Somalia as perceived by my interviewees and their hopes and dreams for the future of the country. Moreover, I explore strengths of the Finnish Somali diaspora for peacebuilding in Somalia and challenges to diaspora peacebuilding as identified by my interviewees. The challenges for peace in my interview data mostly related to problematics of a long-collapsed state and economic or resource related power structures in a country suffering from an elongated conflict. My interviewees demonstrated an understanding of different actors and power structures at play in Somalia on both local, regional, and international levels. My interviewees understood peacebuilding in a broad way, and skills and knowledge transfer was a preferred mechanism of diaspora peacebuilding in most of my interviews. Capacity building and education transfer came up multiple times, and education and experience from Finland was considered highly valuable. Setting up businesses in Somalia was also considered positive as long as locals would be employed. These activities were presented as a response to the challenges in Somalia related to poverty and unemployment and hence radicalisation, especially among youth. Political involvement of the diaspora in Somalia was mostly seen as problematic. The greatest challenge for diaspora peacebuilding identified by my interviewees was the poor security situation in Somalia. From my research it is clear, that the diaspora is a heterogenous group just as the local or the international is, and there are generational differences within the Finnish Somali diaspora that need to be considered in relation to diaspora peacebuilding. Based on this study, I would encourage further research on peacebuilding and diaspora youth, and on diaspora-local relationships.
  • Mankinen, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis explores social representations of nature and happiness in nature among Finnish youth. Even though the concepts of happiness and nature are common in daily exchanges, they remain difficult to define, and little is known of their usage among laypeople. Similarly, nature’s effects on well-being are well documented, but how happiness occurs in nature has not been examined through social representations. Finland is an interesting country to study these phenomena, as Finland is often portrayed through its unique nature, and has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for three consecutive years. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how Finnish youth discuss happiness in nature, and whether there are distinctive shared social representations. The study used Moscovici’s Social Representations Theory as a theoretical framework. The theory’s purpose is to explore laypeople’s conceptions of everyday phenomena, making it suitable for this research. The research was part of a bigger LUODE-project, funded by the European Social Fund. LUODE aims to develop multidisciplinary collaboration and service innovations for youth. University of Helsinki’s role was to better understand the everyday lives of the youth and this research contributes to the latter aim. The participants consisted of 15-16-year-old Lahti 9th graders (n=355). They first saw a marketing video of Finland aimed at foreign visitors, in which the main theme was the experience of happiness in nature. They were then asked to write their responses to a paper questionnaire, with questions like “What does the video say about happiness in your opinion? Discuss, whether nature makes you happy? Why yes? Why not?”. Responses varied in length from one word to lists, and from sarcastic comments to personal, even poetic, descriptions of happiness in nature. This research will focus on their personal accounts, and when combined, these created shared social representations. The research questions were: What are the shared ideas the youth have about nature, and of happiness in nature? How are these social representations objectified or anchored? Do the youth have shared social representations about nature, and more specifically about happiness in nature? As a result of the research questions, the analysis identified two main themes. First, nature was defined through shared lay perceptions, and nature in the societal context of Finland. It was clear that there was not just one simplistic definition of nature among the youth. Instead, their descriptions varied from common objectifications of nature, like cleanliness, forests, and summer cabins, to societal issues including the national welfare system, and global issues like climate change. Second, happiness in nature was experienced in a holistic manner: nature was a place for peace of mind, for activities, and for sensory engagement. These representations of happiness revealed holistic, and multisensory experiences of happiness when spending time in nature. The results show that Finnish youth go to nature to relax, be active, and be mindful and that their experiences in nature involve multisensory approaches, which all contributed to their experiences of happiness. Multisensory experiences as social representations may offer new insights for future research. These representations explicate how detailed and varying the everyday terms of happiness and nature are. Nature served as an important milieu for daily moments of happiness among the youth. Finnish youth also criticized the claims in the video and discussed the influence of the Finnish welfare system as well as climate change in their responses. The current study proposes that these holistic and multisensory methods to experience happiness in nature should be taken into account when planning well-being interventions, city planning, and nature preservation.
  • Keipi, Teo; Kaakinen, Markus; Oksanen, Atte; Räsänen, Pekka (2017)
    Online interaction through the use of social networking sites (SNS) continues to be a significant component of the socialization of young people today, yet little research exists toward linking various relational forms to prevalent and much-studied online risks cross-nationally. This article provides a link between relational dynamics and online risks identified in previous research toward a new perspective on how social tie strength is related to experiences of hate victimization and harassment online. The analysis is based on survey data of Finnish (n = 555), American (n = 1033), German (n = 978), and British (n = 999) young people aged 15-30 years. Variables, including age, gender, main activity, SNS use, quantity, and extent of online and offline social networks including social tie strength and online community identification, were analyzed toward finding their associations with online hate victimization and harassment. Results showed that experiences of hate victimization and harassment were similar cross-nationally and that those who were personally harassed online also reported high SNS activity. Furthermore, no association was found between social network size and negative experiences. Notable cross-national differences were also detected in the results. Findings emphasize the importance of understanding variables fostering online risks for young people while providing a new perspective on what aspects of social life may help negate negative effects online.
  • Young, T. Kue; Revich, Boris; Soininen, Leena (2015)
    This extended editorial introduces the Special Issue on Suicide and Resilience in Circumpolar Regions, the results of the knowledge synthesis project by an international research team funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and endorsed by the Arctic Council. It focuses on the extent and magnitude of the problem of suicidal behaviours and thoughts from a circumpolar perspective - the variation across Arctic States and their northern regions, the excess risk among some indigenous groups and their demographic characteristics. Much remains to be learned about the design and implementation of youth-focused intervention programmes, especially in a circumpolar comparative framework.
  • Jose, Katja (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    More than a half of the population in Southern Africa is young. In Mozambique, majority of the population lives in the rural area, gaining their livelihoods in subsistence farming. The growing urban population in the region is mainly occupied in the informal sector, where rights of the workers are not considered. This work is about young people and their opportunities to find employment and get settled in normal life. This work is based on interviews of young people from the poor neighborhood of Chamanculo in Maputo, Mozambique, and young people living in the streets in Nairobi, Kenya. Despite of differences between these two groups, they face similar challenges and prejudices. Also their dreams and strategies to reach these dreams do not differ much. The material is collected over a time span of over two years during monitoring trips to NGOs working for empowerment os marginalized youth. In addition to young people, material includes interviews with staff of NGOs working with marginalized youth, and representatives of respective government officers and school staff. Different from Western societies, being young is not considered a privilege in Southern Africa. Instead it’s a period in a life when possibilities for influencing and participating in social life are limited. Status of an adult is gained after establishing a family, and securing income that is enough to sustain oneself and his family. Especially young men are expected to be able to provide for their wife and the family. In a situation when access to decent jobs and income is limited, young people from difficult circumstances are easily stuck in a situation in which they do not have the option of becoming fully recognized adults. Weak educational background and connections to formal economy create obstacles for poor young people to integrate into formal society and labor force. In this work, the challenge of becoming adult is studied using concepts of child agency, agency, social navigation and capability. Agency of children and youth is a relatively new topic of studies, because decision-making has until recently been considered the responsibility of adults. However, recent studies show that children already in young age make decisions concerning their education, selection of future profession and entrance into vocational training. Young people make their decisions based on the information available for them about their societies, in this case especially about labor markets and income earning possibilities. Navigating in insecure environment requires continuous monitoring and keeping eyes open for any opportunity. Often youth in difficult situation have to consider both immediate survival and long term plans in the same time. Chances of young people from poor background are limited not only due to economic hardship, but also because of lacking social capital and networks. Possibility to choose between different options is often limited, and in many cases it’s necessary to accept any opportunity that turns up. Made choices are evaluated continuously; and corrective actions taken if a decision does not lead to a desirable outcome. Youth from poor neighborhood of Chamanaculo in Maputo tell that they search their models somewhere else, because the environment does not support education, and abuse of alcohol and drugs is common. In the same time, young people who have little formal education are in difficult position on the labor market, and those with less formal education end up in informal jobs. While informal sector is widespread. Even the poorest youth are usually aware of this, and employment in the formal sector is the ideal for most. Young people also dream of continuing their studies, and continuing to higher education after completing vocational training and earning some money. Costs related to formal education and lacking social capital prevent young people from poor families to pursue this dream. Especially young men who have grown up as street children face fear and discrimination. For youth from the margins of the society, placement on a training course is not enough, but they also need moral support and counseling to prepare them for the social life at workplace. When this support is available, they have all the possibilities to succeed, and most youth are employed after traineeship. Usually girls are more vulnerable than boys, and their opportunities in earning income are more limited than for young men. While young men from poor neighborhoods are easily labeled criminals, girls with the same background are often considered prone to prostitution. Selection of trades in vocational training is strongly gendered, and young women end up in professions that are less paid than male dominated ones.
  • Savolainen, Iina; Oksanen, Atte; Kaakinen, Markus; Sirola, Anu; Paek, Hye-Jin (2020)
    Background: In the ever-growing and technologically advancing world, an increasing amount of social interaction takes place through the Web. With this change, loneliness is becoming an unprecedented societal issue, making youth more susceptible to various physical and mental health problems. This societal change also influences the dynamics of addiction. Objective: Employing the cognitive discrepancy loneliness model, this study aimed to provide a social psychological perspective on youth addictions. Methods: A comprehensive survey was used to collect data from American (N=1212; mean 20.05, SD 3.19; 608/1212, 50.17% women), South Korean (N=1192; mean 20.61, SD 3.24; 601/1192, 50.42% women), and Finnish (N=1200; mean 21.29, SD 2.85; 600/1200, 50.00% women) youths aged 15 to 25 years. Perceived loneliness was assessed with the 3-item Loneliness Scale. A total of 3 addictive behaviors were measured, including excessive alcohol use, compulsive internet use, and problem gambling. A total of 2 separate models using linear regression analyses were estimated for each country to examine the association between perceived loneliness and addiction. Results: Loneliness was significantly related to only compulsive internet use among the youth in all 3 countries (P Conclusions: The findings reveal existing differences between youths who spend excessive amounts of time online and those who engage in other types of addictive behaviors. Experiencing loneliness is consistently linked to compulsive internet use across countries, although different underlying factors may explain other forms of addiction. These findings provide a deeper understanding in the mechanisms of youth addiction and can help improve prevention and intervention work, especially in terms of compulsive internet use.
  • Janhonen, Kristiina (2017)
    The article examines young people's group interaction and the roles of humor and laughter in relation to school food and school lunch situations. The analysed focus group discussion data is drawn from a broader case study (2012-2013) with 9th grade students (15-16 years old; 62 pupils; 25 boys and 37 girls; 14 groups; 4-6 pupils per group) in a Finnish secondary school. The analysis is based on existing interpretations and classifications of humor in literature, which is complemented by notions drawn from the study's data set. It is argued that an analysis of humor and laughter can provide valuable notions of how collective attitudes towards school food are constructed, enforced and distributed among students, while also providing insight regarding what kinds of issues around school lunch practices are considered important and worthwhile in the context of students' informal peer cultures. The results illustrate how humor and laughter functioned for the students as a space for (1) Constructing us' versus them'; (2) Negotiating social order; and (3) Engaging in fun and safe interaction. Results are discussed in the light of how humor and laughter uphold or divide social groups, as well mediate shifts between formal conventions and students' informal worlds.
  • Korsunova-Tsaruk, Angelina; Horn, Susanna; Vainio, Annukka (2021)
    It is generally accepted that governments, municipalities, businesses and citizens alike have a role to play in transitioning towards a circular economy (CE). Yet most academic and policy discussions of CE revolve around technological solutions and business models. Although CE also means significant changes to ways of living, these aspects of CE are barely addressed. The citizen role is traditionally assumed to be that of a consumer or user of the newly developed solutions, while also following the guidelines for sorting and recycling. Little is known about how citizens envision being part of the CE, and what skills and competences are relevant for CE. Our study addresses this gap by exploring the perceptions of young adults in Finland on how CE reflects into their everyday lives. Our dataset consists of 249 responses from high school students in Finland to open-ended questions regarding CE. The results highlight that young adults in Finland strongly associate CE with recycling, waste sorting and re-selling/buying second-hand, which is in line with the conventional roles of efficient recyclers and consumers. Although CE harbors wider potential for more active citizen roles related to repair, maintenance and upcycling, these aspects are often overlooked in favor of more familiar lifestyles. Building on the 5R framework for CE and emerging themes from student responses, we bring forward the new roles of upcycler, thrifter, expert/learner, giver/benefactor and conservationist. Supporting these emerging roles is an opportunity for cooperation between young adults, other citizen groups, cities, policy makers and businesses, and a key for jointly advancing the transition to CE. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Institution of Chemical Engineers. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
  • Kostamo, Katri Helena; Jallinoja, Piia; Vesala, Kari Mikko; Araujo-Soares, Vera; Sniehotta, Falko F.; Hankonen, Nelli Elisa (2019)
    Rationale Trials evaluating interventions to promote health behavior change rarely embed investigations that assess participant perceptions of crucial triggers of change. Objective The "Let's Move It” (LMI) randomized trial evaluated a theorybased whole school system intervention aiming to increase physical activity (PA) of adolescents attending vocational schools. This article serves two main purposes: to describe how to use the critical incident technique (CIT) to conduct in qualitative process evaluation to identify events, including intervention elements, which LMI trial participants perceived to enable or support behavior change. Method Semi-structured interviews (n = 34) conducted immediately post intervention from intervention and control arms were analyzed using the CIT. Results The analysis identified altogether 39 critical incidents. Most of the critical incidents were related to the LMI in the intervention arm and the findings are partly aligned with the LMI intervention theory. Analysis revealed several critical incidents also in the control arm, including gaining insights regarding PA and mere measurement effects, illustrating challenges facing real-world trials. Conclusion The CIT seems a promising approach for directing analysis towards potentially crucial intervention elements as described by the participants themselves, helping in focusing and limiting the text corpus to accounts relevant to change. Qualitative evaluations in trials may add valuable understanding to complement quantitative assessments.
  • Aaltonen, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Youth are increasingly seen as valuable actors and partners in preventing violent extremism, and the notion of youth as a problematic and dangerous at-risk group has been challenged. This research explores the ways in which youth are engaged in the prevention of violent extremism and work to advance and sustain peace in the context of Finland. Nine young, active actors were interviewed who have taken part in the prevention of violent extremism in various ways. The interviewees represent a diverse group of Finnish youth who have a positive impact on their communities and society. In addition, two expert interviews were conducted with representatives from the Ministry of Interior and the National Police Board of Finland. The thematic interviews have been analyzed by using the method of qualitative content analysis. The interviewees have engaged in youth to youth civil society activity as well as they have taken part in the policy-making processes and cooperated with officials and practitioners in the local, national and EU level. This research found that the activity of youth-led organization is dynamic, and their work is guided by the wants and needs of the youth themselves. The work that the interviewed youth do is nuanced and has multiple goals. Only a part of the work aims to prevent violent extremism while the majority of activity has a wider set of goals, such as improving the well-being of the youth and strengthening identity & a sense of belonging. This research also raises the point whether the term ‘preventing violent extremism’ is problematic since it might be perceived to be stigmatizing and it frames the work in negative terms. This research also sheds light on both internal and external factors that encourage and enable the youth to act. Youth were motivated to act because of their willingness to change something in their community or society. The support, opportunities and encouragement from other actors played a significant role in youth recognizing and strengthening their capacity. In order to build an environment of peace where violent extremism does not thrive, there is a need to encourage dialogue within and between groups of people, empower youth to active citizenship, strengthen inclusivity and to increase the awareness of youth on ways to influence society. The value of human rights-based civil society work for peace and well-being should be recognized and it should be supported.
  • Laaksonen, Tea (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The objective of my study is to examine therapeutic ethos in public presentations of project-based activities that are directed at young people. Youth is examined in societal level in late-modern time where transitions to adulthood are becoming more risky and complex in the markets of work and education. The young people that are outside of institutions, create societal concern which is answered by creating therapeutic project-based support. These projects are also subject to markets and competition. In this study, I ask the question how the therapeutic ethos is present in the projects public presentations and how therapeutic ethos in projects as discursive practices creates images of youth and possible subjectivities that are offered to them. The perspective of this study is based to post-structural theories. The data in this study consists six different project-based support systems public documents from public web pages. The data includes reports, project depictions, brochures and marketing material. The data has been analyzed with a discursive approach which uses the nomadic research method. The analysis was based on the idea that discourses are seen as societal and cultural practices that create ways of being and speaking in the right way. These discourses can also be opposed. According to this study, therapeutic ethos in projects discursive practices appears as culturally influential discourses and understanding of feelings and inner state of mind where it also turns societal interests and project-based actions to the language and view which emphasizes representations of inner state of mind. This leads to a situation, where the problems that young adults face are translated as young adults’ inner psychological deficits where the societal view point becomes marginalized. At the same time therapeutic ethos, as a part of discursive practices, expands the general awareness of vulnerability and importance of therapeutic knowledge. The possible subjectivities created were self-knowing ideal-subjectivity and its counterpart lost-subjectivities.
  • Oksanen, Roosa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The aim of this thesis was to find out what kinds of meanings are attached to the concept of activism in a girls’ online alternative magazine. In addition, the aim of this thesis was to find out what kind of a counterpublic concerning youths’ activism the magazine can be viewed to organize. As a starting point for this research were the opportunities provided by the Internet for the circulation of youths’ self-produced media contents and the view of alternative media as organizers of counterpublics that form members’ identities and contest power relations. In addition, this research was inspired by the changing meanings of activism and the generational differences in what is considered to be political action, noted in previous research. The data for this research consisted of 65 articles discussing activism in girls’ online alternative magazine Rookie, mainly written by girls and young women. The articles were analyzed using discourse analysis as the method. In addition, aspects of critical discourse analysis and feminist critical discourse analysis were utilized in the analysis. Seven prominent discourses highlighting different aspects of Rookie magazine’s idea of activism were found in the data. Four of the discourses highlight the overall value of activism. These discourses emphasize the value of young people as activists, the value of online communication as meaningful activism, the value of formal politics in activism, and the value of small activism. In addition, three discourses in the data emphasize the importance of individual activist’s preferences when participating in activism. These discourses highlight the importance of prioritizing own well-being in activism, the importance of utilizing own personality and interests in activism, and the importance of listening to other people’s individual views in activism. The results show that in Rookie, very different kinds of actions are regarded as valuable activism that is accessible and meaningful to young people. In addition, the results show that Rookie articles emphasize the role of individualism in activism: activism can and should be done on own terms and while listening to own limits. The discourses of activism constructed in Rookie articles are often explicitly presented as counter-discourses to the broader idea of youths’ political apathy, and youths’ sociopolitical activity and its value are emphasized. This research therefore suggests that circulating the discourses related to activism in Rookie can be viewed to organize a counterpublic concerning youths’ activism. The counterpublic contests the idea of youths’ political apathy and instead promotes the idea of young people as active agents who can and want to effect broader change through several means.