Unemployed and Alone? : The Relationship between Living Alone and Social Wellbeing among Unemployed People in Finland

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Title: Unemployed and Alone? : The Relationship between Living Alone and Social Wellbeing among Unemployed People in Finland
Author: Halonen, Iiro
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201904181701
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Sosiaalitieteiden maisteriohjelma
Master 's Programme in Contemporary Societies
Magisterprogrammet i sociala vetenskaper
Specialisation: Sosiologia
Abstract: This master’s thesis examines the relationship between living alone and the social wellbeing of basic unemployment benefit recipients in Finland. Living alone has become common in Finland, but previous research focusing on the relationship between living alone and social wellbeing among disadvantaged groups is scarce. This study contributes to the existing research by analyzing the interaction of living alone and different socioeconomic and demographic indicators among the unemployed. Theoretically, the study uses the concept of new social risks to interpret the nature of living alone in the post-industrial welfare state. The interpretation of the relationships between different forms of wellbeing is based on the theories of wellbeing by, among others, Erik Allardt and Pierre Bourdieu. Social wellbeing is considered from objective and subjective perspectives using the theories of social isolation and social capital. The study uses survey data (N = 948) gathered by the National Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA). Social wellbeing is operationalized as time spent with friends, participation in community activities, trust in people and loneliness. The statistical relationships between the indicators of social wellbeing, living alone and the socio-demographic variables are tested using ordered logit models. The results of the study indicate that living alone is related to loneliness among basic unemployment benefit recipients. The unemployed who live alone also have less trust in people, which can, however, be explained by a higher prevalence of men, economic problems and poor health among unemployed people who live alone. The results also indicate that the unemployed who live alone have higher levels of objective social wellbeing than others and are thus able to compensate for their lack of home- and work-related social contacts. The argument of the study is that living alone can pose a social risk for basic unemployment benefit recipients through loneliness. As a social policy implication, the social problems of the unemployed who live alone should be considered to a greater extent in social policy, in addition to economic and health related problems. Methodologically the results indicate the need for assessing social wellbeing with several indicators in order to reveal the differences between objective and subjective social wellbeing.
Subject: social wellbeing
living alone
social risk
Subject (yso): työttömyys
hyvinvointi (henkilökohtainen)

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