Through Crises. Youth Barometer 2022
Antti Kivijärvi (ed.)
The theme of the Youth Barometer 2022 is resilience in a time of uncertainty. Young people aged 15–29 who responded to the Youth Barometer telephone interview were asked about the adversity they had faced and their ability to cope with difficulties and recover from them. A total of 1,864 young people were interviewed by telephone between 19 January and 27 February in 2022. In addition to resilience, the young people were asked about their experiences of uncertainty and insecurity, stress, the meaningfulness of everyday life, their satisfaction with life, attachments to communities, trust in institutions and attitudes towards drugs and alcohol. The above-mentioned themes are examined in the Youth Barometer from the perspectives of both the time of the interview and, where possible, of longer-term trends.
The resilience of respondents was assessed with an internationally used, ten-item CD-RISC 10 scale. On the one hand, the self-assessed resilience of young people in Finland was relatively high comparatively, but on the other, the assessments varied by group. In particular, those who identify as belonging to a minority group, those on the margins of the labour market, foreign-language speakers and women rated their resilience as lower than that of their peers. The most typical difficulties cited by young people were concern about and loss of loved ones, uncertainties related to studies and mental health problems. In addition, almost half of the respondents had experienced bullying at school during their lives and a quarter had been required to rely on income support. Those who had experienced the most difficulties were those not in education or employment and those who identify as belonging to a minority group. The young people most frequently mentioned friends and family members as sources of help when facing difficulties. Those who received support from close relatives rated their resilience as higher than others.
The young people were asked to describe their experiences of uncertainty and insecurity from a personal perspective. The young people experienced most uncertainty and insecurity about their future, their income and their ability to get a job. Issues related to social relationships caused far less uncertainty and insecurity. Overall, experiences of uncertainty and insecurity in personal life were relatively rare. Less than a fifth of respondents experienced a lot or quite a lot of uncertainty or insecurity regarding all the aspects asked about. On a positive note, experiences of uncertainty and insecurity regarding personal life had decreased for almost all of the aspects asked about compared to previous surveys.
The vast majority of young people, more than four out of five, felt that their daily life was meaningful and in good order. An even larger number of respondents said they had someone to turn to when facing difficulties. The results were broadly the same as those in previous years. Despite the positive results related to everyday life, more than a quarter of young people said they experienced stress at least quite a lot. In particular women aged 20–24 and those who did not have an established position in the education system and labour market experienced stress. Stress and everyday life most likely placed the most strain on young people who were becoming more independent from their childhood families and making the transition to adulthood.
The Youth Barometer has been monitoring young people’s perceived wellbeing, in practice satisfaction with life, for a long time, and this was monitored especially closely during the coronavirus restrictions of the early 2020s. The Youth Barometer 2022 provides one benchmark for this subject. The results show that young people’s satisfaction with life had recovered from the drop at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to nearly the same level as before the pandemic. Regarding the various aspects of life, young people’s satisfaction with their leisure time had weakened but their satisfaction with their financial situation had improved.
In the Youth Barometer data, social relationships, especially relationships with peers, have had a strong link with perceived wellbeing. It is therefore significant that the number of meetings with friends had decreased significantly and these face-to-face meetings had not been replaced with contacts online or over the telephone. The older the young people, the less frequently they were in contact with their friends. In addition, compared with other young people, young unemployed people in particular had less contact with their friends. Even though the amount of contact with friends had decreased, there was no major change in the young people’s sense of belonging. The majority of young people still experienced a strong sense of belonging to key communities, such as family and circles of friends. The sense of belonging to third sector organisations had decreased somewhat, while the sense of belonging to online communities had increased. As with contacts with friends, the sense of belonging to different communities was on average weaker the older the young person was.
The young people’s trust in institutions was quite strong across the board. The vast majority of young people had trust in the authorities in particular, but also in political actors. Lack of education, unemployment and identifying as belonging to a minority group were associated with low trust in institutions. Trust in institutions was broadly at the same level as it was in 2018 when it was previously measured. When viewed over a longer term, young people’s trust in many political actors has increased.
The majority of young people were critical of alcohol and drugs and their use. More than half of the respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement “I do not want to use alcohol or drugs”. The youngest respondents had the most negative attitudes towards alcohol and drugs. Young people’s attitudes towards alcohol have become stricter over the past 20 years. At the same time, young people’s attitudes towards drugs have become more accepting and their views on drug policy more liberal.