FSD3433 PROMEQ: Health and Well-being of the Long-term Unemployed 2016-2018

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  • Ylistö, Sami (University of Jyväskylä. Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy)
  • Mäntysaari, Mikko (University of Jyväskylä)
  • Mäki-Opas, Tomi (University of Eastern Finland. Department of Social Sciences)
  • Vaarama, Marja (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Forma, Leena (Tampere University)
  • Partanen, Jussi
  • Klavus, Jan (Tampere University)
  • Rissanen, Pekka (Tampere University)


employment services, health services, health status, participation, public services, social inequality, social services, social skills, social support, trust, unemployment, well-being (health)

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The data consist of three surveys aimed at the long-term unemployed. The surveys charted the unemployed persons' social participation, mental and physical well-being, work motivation, and use of social and health services. Main themes in the surveys included, among others, living conditions, quality of life, social relationships, use of social and health services, and lifestyle. The baseline survey was conducted at the beginning of the research and the two follow-up surveys three and six months after the baseline survey. The data were collected as part of the Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing (PROMEQ 2016-2019) research project, which studied population groups that need special support. The aim of the PROMEQ project was to develop and demonstrate novel models of promotion of health and wellbeing. Survey data from the other target groups of the project as well as combined data from all surveys are also available at FSD (FSD3433-FSD3436). The research project was funded by the Academy of Finland.

The surveys included many scales and questions used in other studies. Questions were selected, for instance, from the Finnish Youth Surveys, as well as the Regional Health and Well-being Study (ATH) and Welfare and Services in Finland (HYPA) surveys conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Most questions included in the baseline survey were repeated in the follow-up surveys.

First, the surveys charted the respondents' living conditions, income, loans and need for financial aid or food assistance. The respondents' health, well-being and quality of life was examined with questions on, for example, how satisfied the respondents were with their health, how much they had enjoyed life in the past two weeks, how safe and secure they felt in their everyday life, and whether they had enough energy and drive for their daily life. Satisfaction with different spheres of life was also surveyed with questions regarding, for example, quality of sleep, capacity to work, relationships, and support received from friends.

Social relationships and trust were examined next. The respondents were asked whether they often felt lonely and whether they had ever been discriminated based on factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, or financial situation. Questions also focused on the respondents' sociability and feelings of belonging (e.g. whether they felt they were a part of a friend group, had much in common with people around them, and could find company when they wanted to, or whether they felt left out and isolated). The respondents' participation in group activities was charted, and trust in other people and various institutions, such as public health care, the judicial system, and municipal decision-making, was examined. The respondents' opinions on their own opportunities in life were also surveyed (e.g. whether they thought they had good or bad opportunities to strive for happiness in their life and to act according to their conscience).

Next, the respondents were asked about work, unemployment and their plans for the future. Work motivation was examined with questions on, for example, how many times the respondents had applied for a job in the last six months and how willing they were at present to work full-time or part-time or set up their own company. Views on employment were investigated with questions on, for example, whether the respondents found it important to be employed and whether they thought they needed more training to become employed again. The respondents were also asked to evaluate their own capacity to work and study. Future plans were surveyed with questions focusing on the respondents' dreams, hopes and goals for their future.

Finally, the respondents' use of social and health services was surveyed. The respondents were asked whether they had visited a doctor or other health or social services professional or received services that promote employment in the past 12 months (6 months in the follow-up survey). Additionally, the respondents were asked whether they had bought medication or been in contact with an employment services employee or other social or health care employee in the past 12 months. Questions also focused on basic social assistance, the respondents' satisfaction with the availability of various social and public services (e.g. library, indoor exercise and youth services), and their participation in group activities promoting health and well-being (e.g. weight management groups, AA, NA). The respondents' lifestyle was also examined with questions on their exercise, eating and drinking habits.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's gender, year of birth, marital status, household composition, housing tenure, highest level of education, economic activity and occupational status, and household income. Additionally, the background information collected included whether the respondent belonged to the control or test group as well as their matched pair number.

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