FSD1320 Living Conditions of Social Assistance Recipients and Social Work 1987

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  • Ritakallio, Veli-Matti (University of Turku. Department of Social Policy)
  • Salavuo, Kari (University of Turku. Department of Social Policy)


childhood, customers, family influence, health, housing, income, interpersonal relations, life events, living conditions, social security, social security benefits, social services, unemployment, well-being (health)

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The survey charted living conditions, experiences of life and client relationship of social assistance recipients and social work. Firstly, respondents were asked about previous contacts with social services office, previous occupation and job and length of and reason for unemployment. They were also asked to state different illnesses and ailments they had suffered from in the past twelve months. The survey also studied respondents' accommodation (e.g. type, size, way of heating, standard of equipment, number of rooms) and relations with neighbours.

Possession of consumer durables (e.g. telephone, colour television, washing machine and newspaper subscription) was examined. Respondents were asked whether their financial circumstances prevent them from using public transport, buying convenience goods, nutritious food, etc. Leisure activities, membership in a voluntary organisation and voting behaviour in the last parliamentary elections were also charted.

Respondents were asked to assess their childhood and childhood home, for example, who looked after them mostly, how many times they have moved and were there serious conflicts or drinking problems in the family. They also rated their family ties and friendships. Social service clients analysed events that had happened to them in the past five years. They evaluated their standard of living and satisfaction with their situation in life at the time of the survey and five years prior. Social assistance recipients also weighed the most important things in their life. Finally, respondents' views on being social service clients were probed by asking, for example, what was their first visit to social services office like, how does it feel to tell social workers about personal problems and should there be groups representing clients in social services.

Social workers completed information on the client relationship: source of income and combined net income of household, measures taken at meetings (e.g. income calculation, discussion, counselling on child care and welfare or house call). They specified contributory factors in household's income difficulties and reasons for need of help. Social workers assessed how effective social welfare measures are in helping clients.

Background variables included gender, marital status, type and structure of household, basic and vocational education, main activity, spouse's education and main activity.

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