FSD2887 Welfare and Services in Finland 2006: Families with Children

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  • Moisio, Pasi (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES))


childhood, children, domestic responsibilities, families, family policy, health, living conditions, occupational life, parent participation, parental role, parental supervision, social networks, social security, social services, social welfare, standard of living, welfare policy, well-being (health)

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Welfare and Services in Finland is a panel survey that combines telephone and face-to-face interviews, postal surveys and register data. The aim of the study is to offer up-to-date, reliable and extensive research data on Finnish welfare and the use of welfare services. The topics in this collection round, which was aimed at families with children, included family composition, work and family, work-life balance, economic circumstances, parenthood, intergenerational relationships, health, services and support networks, and childhood. Data were collected through postal survey.

Family composition was surveyed with questions about the persons living with the respondent, years of birth and genders of children, time lived with spouse, changes in the family composition in the previous 12 months, living arrangements of children from previous marriage/relationship, and child support.

Relating to work and family, the questions presented probed the respondents' possibilities for working flexitime and to choose where they work, multiple jobs worked and overtime done in the previous 12 months, and work done at home. Further questions surveyed the relationship between work and family requirements, difficulties in doing different things related to work (e.g. working at night) because of family reasons, decrease in time spent with family and friends because of work, absences from work because of a child's sickness, reactions at the workplace to such absences, work-related things given up for family or vice versa, and who was responsible of household chores.

With regard to economic circumstances, the respondents were asked whether they were able to save money and pay their expenses, how they thought the economic circumstances of the household would develop in the near future, and whether the household could afford certain things (e.g. give children a weekly allowance).

The questions about parenthood surveyed feelings and experiences related to parenting, knowledge and concern about children's friends and activities, health and lifestyle of children, mutual activities of the respondents and their children, things causing conflicts or disputes, frequency of having meals together as a family, and views on parents purchasing alcohol or cigarettes for their children. The respondents who had children aged 12-17 were asked what kind of decisions they had made about their children's alcohol use and smoking (e.g. had let them try alcohol at home), and whether they knew or suspected their children had tried alcohol, smoking or drugs.

Concerning intergenerational relationships, the questions presented charted the distance to grandparents, children's contacts with their grandparents, the respondents' contacts with their own and spouse's parents, care or assistance required by parents, assistance received from parents, importance of assistance received, and relationship to parents.

Relating to health, questions were asked about health status, limiting long-term illnesses or disabilities and their impact on daily life, feelings of pain, anxiety and other symptoms, stress and its possible causes, and own or a relative's drinking problem.

Services and support networks were examined with several questions about child day care services (for instance, satisfaction with a number of things related to the youngest child's day care, and conversations with day care staff), help received from different persons in parenting issues, aid requested from different organisations and services in issues related to family life, sizes of the child's school and class, the extent to which the respondents agreed with a number of statements related to the child's school, and opinions on extended school days with extracurricular activities.

Finally, relating to childhood, the respondents were asked to what extent several statements about childhood applied to them (e.g. "Parents took good care of me", "Friends bullied me"), and whether there had been problems in the childhood family (e.g. financial problems, alcohol abuse, violence).

Background variables included the respondent's gender, year of birth, economic activity, type of employment contract, working hours, employer type, and occupational status as well as spouse's employment contract, working hours, and employer type. In addition, there are register variables containing information on region (NUTS3), statistical grouping of the municipality of residence, hospital district, and disposable income of the household.

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