FSD2616 Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development (JYLS): Interviews of 50-Year-Olds 2009

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  • Pulkkinen, Lea (University of Jyväskylä. Department of Psychology)
  • Kinnunen, Marja-Liisa (University of Jyväskylä. Department of Psychology)
  • Kokko, Katja (University of Jyväskylä. Department of Psychology)


aggressiveness, children, emotional states, family life, health, identity, interpersonal relations, labour and employment, life histories, parents, partnerships (personal)

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The data are part of the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development (JYLS), in which the same individuals have been followed over 40 years. At this research stage, the lives of 50-year-olds were surveyed in terms of family, work, health, and leisure. In addition to interviews, this research stage includes a Life Situation Questionnaire, self-ratings based on various tests and methods, personality tests, a life history calendar, a medical examination and laboratory tests.

Interviews gathered further information on the questions asked and themes included in the Life Situation Questionnaire. Main themes were emotions, identity, middle age, health, family life, work and the respondent's relationship to parents and other people. During the interview, the respondents were also asked to complete a life history calendar and to fill in 21 self-ratings (FSD2617).

In the interviews, the respondents were asked how satisfied they were with different periods in their life, how satisfied they estimated they would be at the age of 60 and whether they had regrets about something they had or hadn't done in their life. The respondents' self image was examined by asking how much they thought about issues such as their health, sexuality or financial situation.

The respondents' ideological and political identities were investigated with questions about religious views, the meaningfulness of life, political activity, positions of trust and responsibility, views of society and what kind of lifestyle they desired. Perceptions of middle age were surveyed by asking how old they wished to be, whether some things were getting more difficult when older and whether they had noticed any signs of a midlife crisis. The respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with statements relating to the reason and meaning of existence and higher powers. Alcohol and drug use was charted as well as instances of stress and depression during the previous 12 months.

Other topics pertained to sufficiency of leisure time, work-life balance and hoped-for changes in their life. Some questions focused on marital status, couple relationship and hobbies shared.

One set of questions covered the respondent's family life and children. Age, education and gender of the children were charted, as well as relationship with children and children's potential illnesses or problems. The number of grandchildren and the relationship with them were also examined. If R had participated to Emotional and Behavioral Regulation (EMO) study with their child in 1997-99, the child's academic performance and the grade average of their latest school certificate were also investigated. One topic covered parental identity.

The relationship with respondent's own parents and other people was examined. The respondent was asked whether their parents were still alive, whether the parents lived together, how old they were, how far away they lived and how much R had been in touch with them in the previous year. Further questions included how well R got along with their parents, how similar opinions and values they shared and how the relationship had changed over the previous 10 years. Relationships with other relatives and friends were also examined.

The last theme focused on the importance and meaning of work for the respondent. Questions covered career goals, employment situation, number of subordinates, workload, autonomy at work, job characteristics, job security, R's and spouse's periods of unemployment and being laid-off. The appreciation received from and support given by colleagues and supervisors were surveyed as well as the stress caused by work. Opinions on retiring and combining work and family life were investigated. Finally, the respondents were asked if there was a single thing that everything in their life seemed to evolve around.

Background variable used: the respondent's gender

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