«Jeg mener at NAV er viktig for unge folk med psykiske problemer fordi for noen av dem så kan det være den eneste mulighet» - PDF

«Jeg mener at NAV er viktig for unge folk med psykiske problemer fordi for noen av dem så kan det være den eneste mulighet» A qualitative study about young people with psychological health problems in

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«Jeg mener at NAV er viktig for unge folk med psykiske problemer fordi for noen av dem så kan det være den eneste mulighet» A qualitative study about young people with psychological health problems in contact with NAV Master thesis at the Institute of Psychology UNIVERSITY OF OSLO October 2016 II «Jeg mener at NAV er viktig for unge mennesker med psykiske problemer fordi for noen av dem så kan det være den eneste mulighet» A qualitative study about young people with psychological health problems in contact with NAV III Copyright Viktoriia Vlasenko 2016 «Jeg mener at NAV er viktig for unge folk med psykiske problemer fordi for mange av dem så kan det være den eneste mulighet»: A qualitative study about young people with psychological health problems in contact with NAV Viktoriia Vlasenko Trykk: Reprosentralen, Universitetet i Oslo IV V Abstract Author: Viktoriia Vlasenko Title:«Jeg mener at NAV er viktig for unge folk med psykiske problemer fordi for mange av dem så kan det være den eneste mulighet»: A qualitative study about young people with psychological health problems in contact with NAV Supervisor: Anne Jansen Co-supervisor: Tor Helge Tjelta This master thesis is about young people with psychological health problems in contact with NAV. Many young people who are in contact with NAV represent a vulnerable group of young adults going through the turbulent phase of self-establishment and selfidentification.many of them experience problems in relation to psychological ill-health. This study has a qualitative design with the use of semi-structured interviews and semistructured focus group interview. The empirical basis of this study is based on interviews with nine young men recruited from a voluntary organization assisting people with psychological health challenges located in Oslo. The overall purpose of this study was to explore how do young people with psychological health challenges perceive their contact with NAV, and which role NAV plays in their lives. This study can be of relevance for young people themselves and those who work with them. The analysis of the interview materials shows that participant s backgrounds are characterized by psychological ill-health challenges, interrupted schooling, unemployment, which results in a complex life situation and dependency on the welfare system. This study concludes with the importance of understanding the complexity of young people s lives and health situations prior and during their contact with NAV in order to help them in the process of life establishment. Key words: young adults, psychological health, narrative identity, social identity, selfestablishment, identification, welfare system, NAV VI VII Acknowledgements Thank you, my family for your kind loving hearts, participants of this master study for your willingness and openness, my supervisors Anne and Tor Helge for your professional guidance and motivation, my ex-classmate Laura and Elisabeth for the language assistance of the manuscript and time, OXLO Mentorprogramme for the opportunities and outcomes, Institute of Psychology and University of Oslo for academically rich and fun student years. Viktoriia Vlasenko Oslo, October 2016 VIII IX Table of contents Introduction Choosing the master thesis topic Young adults a vulnerable group Young adults and NAV Research questions Thesis overview Empirical knowledge situation Vulnerable youth the NEETs National research on NEETs International research on NEETs Media perspective of the Norwegian NEETs «navere» Empirical knowledge gaps Theoretical background Identity and adolescence Identity Narrative identity Social identity The relevance of the identity research Design Study design and methodology Individual interview Focus group interview Interview guide Participants and recruitment Ethical considerations Preparations and data collection Data transcription Data analysis X Reflections about the methodology Results Narrative presentation of the participants and stories about their contact with NAV Geir Rolf Hans Bjørn Kurt Finn Viljam Results from the individual interviews Results from the focus group interview Discussion Conclusions Reflections and future research List of references Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix XI 12 Introduction In this section I present how and why I chose my master thesis topic; research questions; and short overview of the manuscript. Choosing the master thesis topic This thesis is written as a part of my master studies in psychology and my participation in the OXLO Mentorprogramme. OXLO Mentorprogramme is a mentorship programme for master students with intercultural background, which is organised by the Byrådsavdeling for Kultur og Næring in Oslo municipality. Through this programme master students are assigned a mentor in one of the Oslo municipality districts. Mentor s professional skills and experience is relevant to the topic of the student s master thesis, student s academic background and professional interests. My mentor throughout this programme was Tor Helge Tjelta. He is a project manager at the Utviklingsenter for psykisk helse og rusarbeid in the Bydel Gamle Oslo city district. He is also the co supervisor for this master project along with the main supervisor Anne Jansen. My participation in OXLO Mentorprogramme contributed to the choice of topic for this master project. Shortly after being assigned a mentor in Bydel Gamle Oslo, I took the opportunity to be present during the staff meetings with the psychological health team. After a few months, I started working as a psychological health worker in this team and worked there during June April As a psychological health worker I have followed up approximately clients with low to moderate levels of psychological illness and different health-related challenges. Along with these psychological health issues, my clients (in many cases) experienced economic, social and behavioural challenges. I provided not only individual psychological support for my clients, but also practical support alongside different municipal services, such as NAV (The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration). I noticed that NAV played an important role in my client s lives and that many had been in contact with NAV for many years. The topic of NAV was discussed often within our whole team. At the same time, I noticed that young people were often the subject of public debate and discussion within Norwegian media. The first time I came across this phenomenon was through the short documentary series «Oljebarna», broadcasted through VGTV. Participants in this series presented aspects of their lives as young people in Norway. This included perceptions about their work-life, social relations and psychological health. I read many articles about young people through the online Norwegian newspapers, which regularly highlighted «the life of the Norwegian youth». In addition, I 13 started to explore what was written within the professional literature on this topic. Much of the research and public discourse within the media appeared to concentrate on the problematic issues of young people in Norway, especially those in contact with NAV. Therefore, combining my professional experience within the psychological health team, and my observations of public discussions in the media, I decided to explore the topic of young people in contact with NAV more closely as part of my master s thesis. I hope that this master study will be of relevance to young people themselves and those who work with them. Young adults a vulnerable group The term «young adults» often refers to people within the age group years, who are establishing themselves as adults within society. However, the age frame may vary from one literature source to another. Within the literature the terms «youth» and «young people» are also used to describe «young adults». Therefore, within this thesis I will use these terms interchangeably. Authors of the book «Ung voksen og utenfor» aim to describe the life of young people as a marginalized group, and further to highlight how young people navigate through the Norwegian welfare system(hammer & Hyggen, 2013a). Authors present the idea that some institutions in Norway categorize young people as economically week and vulnerable. For example, some Norwegian banks propose a credit offer specifically designed for young adults based on their current economic needs. Another example may be taken from the Norwegian public transport system, where tickets for young adults cost less than for adults. Interestingly, these examples show that such offers and discounts suppose that young adults, like children, retirees and people with disabilities, have poorer financial situation, unlike average adults out of these groups. Hammer and Hyggen (2013) say that: [ ] man antar [ ] at personer i denne alderen har bestemte kulturelle preferanser for tematikk og formidlingsform som er annerledes enn for barn, ungdom eller voksne. Samtidig er man søkende og mottakelig for impulser og påvirkning med hensyn til verdier og livssyn man er i ferd med å finne seg selv, sin identitet og bestemme retning på det videre livsløpet (p. 14). Indeed, when we think about young adults we may often associate them as someone who is in a challenging life situation and in need for advice. Whilst our associations may be culturally promoted, we cannot deny that this age phase in people s lives is accompanied with certain developmental challenges and identity crises. As so, in this study we will focus on the term «young adult» as a life phase, and not just a limited age distinction. 14 «Young adult» denotes the life period in between childhood and late adulthood. This phase is an important time of psychological, social and economic self-establishment. American research uses the term «emerging adulthood» to describe people who feel themselves as neither children nor adults (Arnett, 2000). They are established as adults, have a certain economical independency, but usually are without commitments relevant to later adulthood (such as, family responsibilities or a mortgage). They have a certain freedom which opens for the opportunities to explore romantic relationships, work, self-identity and worldviews; unlike people in other age groups. In modern society, young people move out from their family-homes earlier, use more time for education and postpone cohabitation and childbirth, in comparison to previous generations (Buchmann & Kriesi, 2011). This gives young people today more freedom and choices, what some scientists refer to as cultural liberation (Ziehe & Staubenrauch, 1983). However, the responsibility that comes with such freedoms, may be difficult to bare. Hammer and Hyggen (2013) note further: Med økt individuelt ansvar følger økt individuell risiko. Å mislykkes på en arena tilskrives gjerne individet heller enn viktige samfunnsinstitusjoner eller strukturelle forhold. [ ] Et livsløp preget av det som framstår som individuelle valg, kan innebære at mange ikke føler tilhørighet til solidaritet med kollektive interesser. Det har vært hevdet at vi, i motsetning til et samfunn preget av felleskap og solidaritet, går mot et polarisert samfunn der gapet mellom de som står utenfor og de som er innenfor, blir stadig større (p. 18). Thus, this «outside» position from the community or society may have negative consequences for life of the individual, including hers or his quality of life, and possibilities for self-realization. Undeniably, this may also result in poorer psychological and physical health, such as addiction problems and/or lack of self-affiliation. On a larger scale, this may also have societal consequences and costs that result in the need to support these young people who are placed outside of their community, both economically and socially. Poor psychological health among youth can be one of the explanations as to why some young people drop out of the education-system, struggle with employment and thus, end up in difficult economic positions. The difficult work/economic situation they find themselves in can then exacerbate the challenges they already experience in relation to their poor psychological health. Indeed, some studies show that psychological health illnesses are the most common reasons as to why young people in Norway are given a status of being disabled (in Norwegian: «ufør»), which usually remains unchanged for a long period of time (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). Further research shows that since the 1970s there has been an increase in the number of «ufør» statuses and the need for individual economical support in Norway (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). This is thought to be due to increasing diagnosis of psychological ill-health (Brage & Thune, 2015)For 15 example, six out of ten people under the age of 40 years are given «ufør» status due to their psychological illness (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). Research also shows that unemployed people, those with low education levels or lack of family support have poor psychological health (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). This situation is especially significant among young people (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). In particular, those receiving social economical help from the Norwegian welfare system, report four times more prevalent psychological health problems than other population groups (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). Young adults and NAV Adulthood can be a difficult phase in life. This is a period of self-establishment, during which young people consider many choices with regard to their future life as adults. This may be challenging, especially for those who struggle to finish school, and thus experience difficulties in starting a work life. As result, they may access the welfare system for (economic) support and advice. This role is usually taken by NAV. Hammer and Hyggen (2013) say that: [ ] det kan godt være slik at tilbudet fra NAV fungerer som en institusjonalisert mellomstasjon mellom utdanning og arbeid for enkelte grupper i Norge. Det er ikke gitt at dette apparatet er godt nok tilpasset unge og unge voksne som står i fare for å havne, eller har havnet, utenfor. For mange unge voksne handler det heller ikke om å føres tilbake i arbeid. Det handler snarere om å føres inn i et arbeidsliv de ennå ikke har funnet seg til rette i (p. 23). Young people may wish to access NAV in order to receive professional help and assistance in a turbulent period of their lives. Some contact NAV with the intention of receiving short-term assistance or advice, such as temporary economic support, assistance finding a place to live or help finding a job. However, research shows that many young people end-up receiving assistance from NAV over a long period of time without, for example, actually entering into a proper work life (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). Hammer and Hyggen (2013) define the responsibilities NAV has in relation to young people as following: [ ] NAV har ansvar knyttet til levekår, sosial og økonomisk trygghet, og inkludering i samfunnet. NAV skal generelt jobbe forebyggende overfor spesielt utsatte personer og grupper. NAV er derfor pålagt en viktig rolle i arbeidet med å følge opp unge som står i fare for å bli marginalisert. [ ] Manglende arbeid, dårlig økonomi, helsesvikt og nedsatt arbeidsevne er faktorer som kan bidra til at unge havner utenfor. [ ] NAV har et ansvar for unge på alle disse områdene (p. 199). 16 Both in Norway and outside the country, researchers have taken the attention to the life situations of the young people, who are in the transition phase from education to work. In the rapport «Jobs for youths», published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Norwegian youth are presented to be more disposed to receiving health related (social/economic) benefits when being out of school and education, in comparison to their peers from other OECD countries(oecd, 2010). Indeed, some studies not that approximately 15 to 20 percent of children and youth in Norway have reduced functioning (I believe that authors here mean reduced functioning with regard to work, studies, social relations etc. which compound normal everyday activities) as a result of psychological ill-health problems (Hammer & Hyggen, 2013). Rapport published by OECD (2010) also suggests that youth may be prone in receiving social (state) benefits because of to the structural contexts of the Norwegian welfare system and its policies and practices with regard to advising and supporting young people in the country. Thus, exploring such contexts may be beneficial both for the welfare system; society at large and people seeking help from the welfare system. One of the possible ways of doing so may be by giving people a chance to elaborate on their experiences with the welfare system and the way (they consider) it should be adjusted to their needs. Research questions This study is about young adults with psychological health challenges and who have experience with NAV. I want to explore the meaning of NAV in young people s lives, the challenges they may experience being in contact with NAV, and the impact their meetings with NAV may have on their lives and identities. More specifically, I aim to answer two main research questions: 1) How do young people with psychological health challenges perceive their contact with NAV? 2) Which role NAV plays in young people s lives with psychological health challenges? Thesis overview This master thesis consists of the following chapters: Introduction chapter, where I present the background to the choice of the theme and research questions, and schematic presentation of the thesis; The second and third chapter consists of the presentation of the relevant empirical knowledge situation and theoretical background of this study; The fourth chapter is an outline of the design of the study and methodological considerations undertaken prior to and during the fieldwork, including ethical considerations; I present the data and results within the fifth chapter; Study findings arediscussed within the sixthchapter; And finally, in the seventh chapter I present the overall 17 findings of the study and make reflections about the master thesis, and make suggestions for future research. 18 Empirical knowledge situation Psychological health challenges are one of the most prevalent public health issues of our time (Mykletun, Knudsen, & Mathiesen, 2009). Psychological health challenges are largely widespread among young- and adult populations, and may have negative consequences on many aspects of their lives, such as social relations, schooling and work life(mykletun et al., 2009). Among young adults, psychological health illnesses are the most significant reason for impaired social functioning(patel, Flisher, Hetrick, & McGorry, 2007), dropping out of the educational system and challenges in work life. I will now present some of the national and international empirical research on this topic. Vulnerable youth the NEETs Participating in education and employment is important for individual s well-being(o Dea et al., 2014). Low-educational levels can result in limited participation in work life, which in turn can result in individuals becoming more socially excluded(wanberg, 2012); having poorer quality of life(mustard et al., 2013); decreased access to healthcare, increased levels of psychological distress, and increased risk of substance abuse (Bynner & Parsons, 2002). Long-term unemployment results in significant economic cost not just to the individual, but also to society as a whole, as it places extra burdens on the welfare and healthcare systems (Coles, Godfrey, Keung, Parrot, & Bradshaw, 2010). Inactivity in adolescence and early adulthood can have negative effect on the skills development and initiation of social roles, and the individual s quality of life in general. Young people who are inactive i
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