FSD1321 Living Conditions of Social Assistance Recipients and Social Work 1996

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  • Ritakallio, Veli-Matti (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 the living conditions, life experiences and client relationship of social assistance recipients and social work. First, the respondents were asked to assess their childhood and childhood home, for example, who had looked after them the most and whether there had been serious conflicts or drinking problems in the family. The respondents were asked how many times they had moved during their lifetime and why. They were also asked to state different illnesses that reduced their working capacity and ailments they had suffered from in the past twelve months. Household's use of different health services in the past six months was surveyed. The study also charted the respondents' accommodation (e.g. type, tenure, standard of equipment, number of rooms).

Present main activity, length of and reason for unemployment were examined. Possession of consumer durables (e.g. mobile phone, video cassette recorder, washing machine, computer and newspaper subscription) was examined. The respondents were asked whether their financial circumstances regularly prevented them from using public transport and health services, buying convenience goods, nutritious food, etc. Their voting behaviour in the last parliamentary elections was also charted.

The respondents rated their family ties and friendships and analysed events that had happened to them in the previous twelve months. They evaluated their standard of living and satisfaction with their situation in life at the time of the survey. Finally, the respondents' views on being social service clients were probed by asking, for example, what their first visit to social services office had been like, whether they wanted to discuss matters other than financial circumstances during their appointments and how social services could be improved. The respondents were presented with a set of attitudinal statements about, for example, over-indebtedness and income support.

Social workers completed information about the client relationship: household's source of income, length and regularity of client relationship and 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. The social workers assessed how effective social welfare measures were in helping clients. Finally, they were asked whether the client was a returning migrant or a refugee.

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

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